Magnetic Resonance Imaging
What is an Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive method of imaging that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of organs and structures inside the body. In many cases, MRI exams give different information about structures in the body than can be seen with an x-ray, Ultrasound or Computed Tomography (CT) scan. MRI scans may also show problems that cannot be seen with other imaging methods.
The area of the body being studied during an MRI is placed inside a special machine that contains a strong magnet. Pictures from an MRI scan are digital images that can be saved and stored on a computer for more study. The images can also be reviewed remotely, such as in a clinic or an operating room. In some cases, contrast material may be used during the MRI scan to show certain structures more clearly.
Before Your Test
- MRI uses strong magnets, so you’ll be asked to remove your watch, jewelry and other metal objects
- You may be asked to remove your makeup, which may contain some metal
- The test takes 30-60 minutes; allow yourself extra time to check in
- The magnet used in a MRI exam can cause metal objects in your body to move.
You may be asked if you:
- Have had any previous surgery
- Have a pacemaker or other implants
- Wear a medicated adhesive patch
- Have metal splinters in your body
- Have tattoos
Your technologist will also ask you whether:
- You’re pregnant, or if think you may be
- You’re claustrophobic (dislike small spaces)
During Your Test
- You may be asked to wear a hospital gown
- You may be injected with contrast (a special “dye” that improves the MRI image)
- You’ll lie down on a platform that slides into the magnet
After Your Test
- You can get back to normal activities right away
- If you were given contrast, it will pass naturally through your body within a day