What is magnetic resonance imaging"
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a technique that allows doctors to see inside the human body in remarkable detail without using x-rays. MRI generates images by using a powerful magnet, radio waves and a sophisticated computer system. This scan will provide your doctor with important information on many types of body tissue. MRI is regarded as the most sensitive test for many disorders of the joints, spine, and brain.
How do I prepare for my MRI scan"
Very little preparation is required for a MRI scan. You can eat, drink, and take your medication as normal. Prior to the scan, you are encouraged to go to the bathroom due to the length of the examination.
You will be asked to remove all metallic items such as watches, jewelry, hairpins, eyeglasses, and hearing aids. Also, do not take any credit, bank, parking or insurance cards into the scan room because the magnet will erase the information on the magnetic strip. A locker will be provided for the safekeeping of your valuables. You should take the locker key into the magnet room with you for the security of your valuables but it must be left in an area that is designated to be safe by the technologist.
What can I expect during my visit to the MRI scan"
You may have received a MRI questionnaire from your doctor's staff to be completed at home or at your leisure. Having this form completed should decrease your wait time at the MRI center. Upon arriving in the MRI department, you will be greeted by a receptionist who will ask for this form. If you do not have the form, don't worry, the receptionist will give them to you to complete. A technologist specially trained to operate the MRI system performs the MRI scan and the images are interpreted by a radiologist (a physician who specializes in interpreting medical diagnostic examinations). The MRI technologist will take you to a private area in the MRI department where they will review your medical history and the symptoms that are related to the examination that your doctor has ordered. The technologist will further explain you're examination, what's expected of you and answer any questions you might have. When the scanner is operating you will hear a loud knocking sound and feel a vibration from the table. This is normal. You'll be asked to hold very still as motion will cause image blurring.
How long will the MRI scan take"
Each MRI scan is different. However, most scans take 30-60 minutes.
What will happen following my MRI scan"
Immediately following the scan, you may resume normal activities, diet and medications. There are no known reactions or side effects associated with MRI. The images from your examination will be sent to a radiologist who will interpret the images.
How do I find out the results of my MRI scan"
Your MRI scan will be reviewed by a radiologist. The radiologist will send a report to your physician, who will give you the results of your scan and plan the best course of treatment for your condition.