Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) has greatly improved the accuracy of diagnostic imaging, particularly in structures such as the liver, brain and spinal cord. Patients are not exposed to X-rays with MRI testing; instead, images are created with the use of strong magnetic fields, radio waves and a sophisticated computer system.
MRI allows radiologists to see precise images of soft tissue structures and organs, including the brain, spinal cord, nerves, muscles, cartilage and ligaments. MRI is used to diagnose many conditions, including:
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Infections of the brain, spine or joints
MRI can also visualize:
- Torn ligaments
- Shoulder injuries
- Herniated discs
Preparing For Your MRI
Unless you are advised otherwise, take all of your regular medications and follow your normal diet. For some scans, you must wear a patient gown and private dressing rooms are available.
All removable metallic objects must be left outside the scanning room, including removable hearing aids, dentures and other prosthetic devices. Please tell your doctor and the MRI staff if you have any metal in your body that cannot be removed, such as pacemakers, implanted insulin pumps, aneurysm clips, vascular coils and filters, heart valves, ear implants, surgical staples and wires, shrapnel, bone or joint replacements, metal plates, rods, pins or screws, contraceptive diaphragms or coils, penile implants, and permanent dentures. In most cases, you can be scanned even though you have metal implants, but MRI staff must be made aware of them.
Also, tell a staff member if you are pregnant or if there is a possibility you might be pregnant.
During The MRI Test
An MRI is a comfortable and easy exam. You will be positioned on a table with the part of your body being scanned placed at the center of the tunnel-like portion of the machine. If you are claustrophobic, please discuss this with your doctor. While the scan is in progress, you will hear a variety of pinging and thumping noises that stop and start at different times. The test can take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the number of images needed. For some tests, a special contrast material is injected into an arm vein when imaging certain parts of the body. MRI contrast, called Gadolinium, does not contain iodine and is different from X-ray dye. The contrast is safe and has very few, if any, side effects.
For more information on MRI at Jefferson or other medical imaging services available, please call 856-406-4100.