What is an MRI?

MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. An MRI is a painless and harmless way of looking inside your body. MRI does not use radiation, instead it uses a large magnet, radio waves and a computer to produce detailed digital images.

How do MRI’s work?

The human body is comprised of 95% hydrogen atoms. Hydrogen, the main component in water, is constantly in random motion. However when placed under a magnet hydrogen atoms all move in the same direction. The MRI will then use radio waves to collect signals given off from the hydrogen atoms. Those signals are then sent to a computer that will produce a detailed image from those radio waves.

Detailed MR images allow physicians to better evaluate various parts of the body and certain diseases that may not be assessed adequately with other imaging methods.

MR imaging of the body is performed to evaluate:

  • Breasts.
  • Organs of the chest and abdomen—including the heart, liver, biliary tract, kidney, spleen, and pancreas and adrenal glands.
  • Pelvic organs including the reproductive organs in the male (prostate and testicles) and the female (uterus, cervix and ovaries).
  • Blood vessels (MR Angiography).
  • Bones and Joints ( Knees, shoulders, ankles, Wrist)
  • Brain and Spine

How should I prepare?

Please remember to bring your prescription and insurance card with you on the day of your appointment. Avoid clothing or garments that have zippers, belts, or buttons made of metal. You will be asked to remove all metal jewelry or eye glasses that might interfere with the procedure.

You should ALWAYS inform your doctor if there is even a possibility of you being pregnant. If you have claustrophobia or anxiety, you may want to ask your physician for a prescription for a mild sedative.

For Abdominal MRI

  • You are required to fast for at least 4 hours prior to the study.

For breast MRI:

If you are menstruating the test must be scheduled on day 7-14 of your menstrual cycle. People with the following implants cannot be scanned and should not enter the MRI scanning area.

  • internal (implanted) defibrillator or pacemaker
  • cochlear (ear) implant
  • some types of clips used on brain aneurysms

You should tell the technologist if you have medical or electronic devices in your body. Examples include:
  • artificial heart valves
  • implanted drug infusion ports
  • implanted electronic device, including a cardiac pacemaker
  • artificial limbs or metallic joint prostheses
  • implanted nerve stimulators
  • metal pins, screws, plates, stents or surgical staples

You should inform your technologist or physician of a recent surgery or a recently placed artificial joint. An X-Ray may be required to rule out metal in your body. Tattoos may contain iron and could heat up during MRI, but this is rarely a problem