MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a non-invasive diagnostic tool used to identify and treat various medical conditions. These exams provide unparalleled views of internal body structures including the organs, soft tissues and bone, which cannot be seen using conventional X-rays or CT scans. MRIs use magnetic fields and radio waves to obtain detailed images of nerves, muscles, ligaments, bones, and other tissues.
All MRI machines at U.S. MRI are high field, which is the most powerful type of MRI scanner. This generally means shorter scan times for the patient.
Unless you are told otherwise, you may follow your daily routine and take medications as usual. No fasting is needed, so eat and drink as you normally would.
WHAT TO EXPECT
The time that you are scheduled for allows for 15 minutes of filling out paperwork and changing into scrubs that we will provide for you. We will also provide a locker for you to put your belongings in. Jewelry, glasses, hearing aids, dentures, hairpins, credit cards, coins, keys, and other metal objects will need to be removed and placed in the provided locker before going into the MRI room. All valuables should be left at home.
MRI scans are individualized and tailored to each patient’s needs. Most scan times range from 30 to 60 minutes per exam, although some exams may take longer.
MRI scans require patients to hold very still for extended periods of time. Even very slight movement of the part being scanned can cause much distorted images that will have to be retaken. Your technologist will talk to you through the exam and you will have a call bell to squeeze if you need immediate attention. MRI machines are noisy, so earplugs will be provided for your safety. And music of your choice is provided in the MRI machine to help patients relax during their scan.
After the MRI exam, patients will be given a CD with the images. A U.S. MRI radiologist will then read the images, and a radiology report will be faxed to your referring physician. Your doctor will provide you with your results at your follow-up appointment.
If your physician or radiologist has determined that contrast (gadolinium) is needed for your MRI, you will receive an IV in your arm or hand prior to the exam. Contrast is a safe injection used to enhance organs and blood vessels to help the radiologist see tissue that is hard to detect.
Our team is compassionate and well trained to work with patients who are claustrophobic. Music of your choice is provided in the MRI machine to help patients relax during their scan. All of our locations have either a Wide Bore MRI or Open MRI option, so please request this when scheduling if you are claustrophobic.
U.S. MRI offers a mild oral sedative, which must be scheduled ahead.
WIDE BORE MRI
Wide Bore MRI combines the benefits of Closed Bore MRI with more space inside the bore area of the machine. The Wide Bore MRI system delivers both high magnet strength and high-quality imaging, and the procedure is shorter in duration than an Open MRI. It has a 70cm opening, which makes it ideal for larger patients and patients that would otherwise get claustrophobic.
3T MRI is powerful and efficient. 3T scanners use strong magnets that create a magnetic field twice as powerful as a 1.5T scanner. As a result, 3T MRIs can produce clearer images in a shorter amount of time. The 3T machines in our facilities are also Wide Bore. 3T MRI offers shorter scan times without sacrificing image quality, so it is a pleasant experience for the patients.
HIGH-FIELD OPEN MRI
High-Field Open MRI provides advanced MRI capabilities, while providing a more comfortable experience for some claustrophobic patients. This machine is focused on providing the ultimate in comfort, using a wide-open design that offers panoramic views out all four sides. This open feeling helps create a relaxing environment.
An arthrogram uses MRI to evaluate a joint, such as the shoulder, wrist, hip, or knee. It is a two-part procedure consisting of a contrast injection into the joint, followed by an MRI scan of the joint.
An arthrogram may be ordered to:
- Find tears, degeneration or disease in the cartilage, ligament or tendon
- Detect growths or synovial cysts in the joint
- Diagnose unexplained joint pain
- Determine the need for treatment, including arthroscopy, surgery or joint replacement
MR angiography (MRA) is obtained using an MRI machine, that uses radio waves to evaluate blood vessels and help identify abnormalities. This exam does not use radiation and may require an injection of contrast (gadolinium).
WHOLE BODY MRI
Whole Body MRI can be used in cancer screenings and for regular health evaluations. The Whole Body MRI exam not only provides information about potential malignancy, but also provides information regarding nonmalignant abnormalities that require further evaluation.
Whole Body MRI scans for tumors of the head, neck, chest, abdomen, and pelvis. We have capabilities to detect most solid organ tumors, including kidney, prostate, pancreas, uterine, ovarian, lung, and brain just to name a few. Other tumors, such as colon and breast cancer, are not currently screened for in our exam.
Cartilage Mapping is a non-invasive MR imaging method for early detection of osteoarthritis. The imaging results are color mapped to indicate whether or not the cartilage structure is breaking down and, if so, to what extent. This information can be used to determine the best course of treatment for the individual patient. In addition, it can be used to monitor the cartilage post-treatment, obviating the need for follow-up arthroscopic surgeries or biopsies.