MRI, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging, uses a high strength magnet and radio-frequency waves to obtain diagnostic images. Due to the high field strength of the magnet, MRI may not be safe for all patients. The strong magnetic field can be damaging to electronic implants such as pace-makers, so all implants must be researched to find out the safety. Although MRI scans can visualize most structures within the body, they can be most helpful in imaging soft tissues such as ligaments and tendons. Here at Park West Imaging, we use a 3-Tesla MRI scanner to produce high quality images. An MRI scan can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 90 minutes, depending on the exam. The MRI machine will make loud noises while the imaging is taking place. You will be given ear protection for the duration of your scan. MRI imaging is very susceptible to motion, therefore, it is extremely important for the patient to hold as still as possible in order to obtain diagnostic images.
In some instances, a contrast agent may be ordered by your physician to enhance specific abnormalities in question. The contrast agent used in MRI is called Gadolinium and is usually injected through IV access. In cases of Arthrography, the contrast is injected into a joint under Fluoroscopy (X-ray) and then the patient is taken to MRI to have further imaging of the joint.
What to Expect:
- You will receive a confirmation call from our scheduling staff at which time you will be asked to review a screening form for any contraindications that may affect your MRI scan
- Avoid wearing any clothing with metal buttons, zippers, snaps, etc.
- You may be asked to change into a gown or scrub pants to avoid artifacts on the images caused by clothing
- Avoid wearing jewelry, hair pins, watches, etc.
- Hearing aids and metal dental work will be removed before you enter the scan room
- If a contrast agent is ordered for your exam, IV access will be obtained by the technologist
- The technologist will position you on the MRI table and the table will move into the MRI scanner
- The patient MUST hold still during the scan
- The technologist will leave the room and begin your scan, but you will be able to communicate via an intercom if needed
- After your exam, you may return to your normal routine unless given other instructions by the technologist/radiologist