What is a MRI Scan?

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) exams enable physicians to see images of body structures. The MRI scanner is a tube like structure that is surrounded by a giant circular magnet. The patient is placed on a movable table that is then inserted into the magnet. The images are created by using radio waves, a computer and a powered magnet approximately 7,000 times stronger than the magnetic force of the earth. The image and resolution of the image produced is quite detailed and allows the physician to detect tiny changes of structures within the body. In some instances, some exams may require the use of a contrast agent, such as gadolinium to increase the accuracy of the images. MRI produces better images of soft tissue than CT scans or X-ray exams.

What is MRA?

MRA (Magnetic resonance angiography) is a specific type of MRI scan that is optimized to show blood vessels and blood flow. Physicians use the test to rule out blood vessel disorders and plan treatment.

What Are MRI Scans Used For?

An MRI scan can be used as an extremely accurate method of disease detection through the entire body. In the head, abnormalities such as swelling, brain aneurysms, stroke, tumors of the brain as well as evaluating problems associated with the vertebrae. It can provide valuable information on the organs within the abdomen and accurate information about joint structure, and soft tissue. More often than not, surgery can be more accurately directed or even deferred.

How Long Will My MRI Scan Take?

Depending on the type of exam your doctor ordered, procedure time varies. The average exam lasts about thirty minutes to one hour. Picture quality is directly related to the patient remaining entirely still during the exam.

What preparation is Required Before the Exam?

MRI exams do not require fasting with the exception of abdominal exams that do require fasting of four hours prior. All medication may be taken as directed by your physician. Because images are created by a magnet, even a small amount of metallic material may interfere with the image quality. When allowable, patients are asked to remove all metals prior to entering the room. Please let the clinician know if you have any metal material within your body (pins, plates, implants, shrapnel), or if you are breast -feeding or might be pregnant. Any patient that has a cardiac pacemaker will not be able to have an MRI exam.

Are There an Side Effects or Risks to An MRI study?

There are no known side effects of MRI. MRI exams have the advantage of avoiding X-Ray radiation exposure.


Please feel free to click on one of the services below, or click one of the above boxes to learn more about our services.