Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a way of obtaining very detailed images of organs and tissues throughout the body without the need for x-rays. Instead, MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves, a rapidly changing magnetic field, and a computer to create images that show whether or not there is an injury or some disease process present. For this procedure, the patient is placed within the MR scanner—typically a large, tunnel or doughnut-shaped magnet that is open at both ends. The magnetic field aligns atomic particles called protons that are present in most of the body’s tissues. Radio waves then cause these particles to produce signals that are picked up by a receiver within the MR scanner. The signals are specially characterized using a changing magnetic field, and computer-processor to create very sharp images of tissues as “slices” that can be viewed in any orientation.
An MRI exam causes no pain, and the magnetic fields produce no known tissue damage of any kind. The MR scanner may make loud tapping or knocking noises at times during the exam; using earplugs prevents problems that may occur with this noise. You will be able to communicate with the MRI technologist or radiologist at any time using an intercom system or by other means.
Frequently Asked Questions about MRI
What is MRI?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic tool that provides cross-sectional images, similar to a CT scan. The MRI machine creates a magnetic field aligning the hydrogen protons in the body. Radio frequencies are used to momentarily adjust protons within the body and transmit a signal to the computer. The computer processes the data to produce diagnostic images from inside your body. Doctors use Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to find diseases or abnormalities in the body without using X-rays. Abnormalities of the spine, nerves and vertebral discs, or sports-related injuries such as torn ligaments and fractures, can be identified on MRI scans.
How long will the MRI Exam take?
Most exams done here in the office can be completed in as little as 35 minutes.
Will I be closed in?
No, here at OCPBC our magnet is a state of the art extremity and spine magnet that is open on all sides.
Will I feel anything?
No, there is no pain. You will hear some tapping noises and humming/buzzing from the machine during the exam. The MRI technologist will provide you with ear plugs to protect your ears and help to reduce the sound. The MRI Technologist can also offer you music to listen to during your scan.
What do I wear?
On the day of the exam we recommend that you wear loose, comfortable clothing that doesn’t have snaps or other metal fasteners. You might need to take off your own clothes and wear a gown or shorts during the exam if your clothes have buttons, etc. that can interfere with your exam. You will be asked to remove all jewelry, watches, earrings, rings, hair clips, hearing aids, wallets, change, credit cards etc. prior to the exam. During the exam you will be provided with a locker to store your belongings.
Please DO NOT bring the following (or any metal items) into the MRI Exam room:
- Credit Cards
- Pocket Knife
- Hearing aids
- Cell Phones
You CANNOT have an MRI scan if you have:
- Certain cerebral aneurysm clips
- Certain heart valves
- Metal filings in the eye
- Pacemakers or defibrillators
Please continue to take any medication you normally take.