Magnetic Resonance Imaging uses magnets rather than x-rays to scan your body. MRI allows physicians to look inside your body without pain, surgery, or radiation to make an early, accurate diagnosis of various illnesses and injuries. MRI sends radio waves into your body, and measures the reflective response with a computer, creating a series of detailed images of your internal organs and tissues. A special kind of MRI exam, called Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA), examines the blood vessels. Radiologists will then interpret these images working in conjunction with your physician, who will then diagnose your illness and plan treatment accordingly.
Open MRI is a revolutionary new type of MRI scanner, which features easy accessibility for a larger range of patients requiring the technology of MRI. We are setting a new standard in patient comfort with our unique extra large opening. This technology combined with our experienced staff eliminates much of the anxiety as well as claustrophobic tendencies associated with these exams. Open MRI can accommodate patients weighing up to 500 pounds. The innovative design also allows a family or staff member to be very close to you throughout the exam.
You should not experience any unusual feeling or discomfort during your MRI exam. You will lie on a specially designed, padded table. During the exam, you will hear the equipment make a series of knocking sounds, which are normal and not harmful in any way. Certain patients will be informed and advised concerning use of intravenous (IV) contrast (sterile, dilute Gadolinium) as part of their MRI examination. This does not require any special preparation.
Contact Nebraska Health Imaging prior to your examination if you have any of the following. We may need to review your medical records prior to your examination to ensure MRI compatibility:
Aneurysm clips or brain surgery
Metal fragments from military service or work
Surgical implantation of any metal, wire or electronic devices
Artificial cardiac valves
Patients with cardiac pacemakers, defibrillators and certain other implanted devices cannot be examined with MRI. If you have any questions about whether or not you have any metal that is not compatible with MRI, be sure to contact Nebraska Health Imaging prior to your exam.
Brain MRI: An MRI of the brain produces very detailed pictures of the brain. It is commonly used to study patients with headaches, seizures, weakness, blurry vision on many other problems. It also can further evaluate an abnormality seen on a CT scan. During the brain MRI, a special device called a head coil is placed around the patient's head. It does not touch the patient. This device is what helps produce very detailed pictures of the brain.
Spine MRI: This test is most commonly used to look for a herniated disc or narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis) in patients with neck, arm, back or leg pain. Patients will need to lie on their back for the duration of the exam (which usually lasts 20-45 minutes).
Bone and Joint MRI: MRI can evaluate virtually all of the bones and joints, as well as the soft tissues. Tendon, ligament, muscle, cartilage and bone injuries can be diagnosed with MRI. MRI also helps diagnose infections and masses.
Abdomen MRI: MRI of the abdomen is most frequently used to further assess an abnormality seen on another test such as a CT or ultrasound. Thus, the exam is tailored to look just at the organ in question.
Pelvic MRI: For women, pelvic MRI is used to evaluate the ovaries and uterus or stage endometrial cancer.
MRA: A MRA evaluates blood vessels. The blood vessels in the neck (carotid and vertebral arteries) and brain are frequently studied by MRA to look for areas of stenosis or dilatation. In the abdomen, the arteries supplying blood to the kidneys are also frequently examined by this technique.
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There are really no special preparations for a MRI. Because MRI obtains images through use of a large magnet and metal will interfere with image acquisition, wear comfortable clothes free of metal, like a sweat-suit or shorts. If you'd prefer, Nebraska Health Imaging will supply suitable clothing for your examination. Women may want to wear a sports bra without any metal hooks or wires. You may listen to your favorite radio station or bring a CD to listen to during your exam.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How long will the exam take?
The average exam takes approximately 45 minutes. The exam time is dependent on what part of the body is being scanned.
Should I wear anything special for my exam?
Wear comfortable clothes without metal trim, like a sweat-suit or shorts. Women may also want to wear a sports bra without metal hooks or wires. If you'd prefer, we will supply suitable clothing for your examination.
Will I be able to communicate with the technologist during my exam?
Yes. The technologist can hear you through an intercom in the scanner and will speak to your during your exam. In most cases you may listen to the radio or your favorite CD.
I am claustrophobic. Will I be able to have a MRI?
Yes. Nebraska Health Imaging has both a high field MRI and an open MRI. Our high field MRI is known as a "short bore high field MRI scanner." This MRI produces excellent images while only requiring the least amount of your body inside the scanner. The body part being scanned is positioned in the middle of the bore of the magnet allowing the other parts of your body to be outside the scanner. Compared to the older "long bore" scanners, you only go half the distance into the scanner. If you have severe claustrophobia, ask your doctor about open MRI or Nebraska Health Imaging has an anxiety management program to assist you. Your physician can better access what scanner is best for you or if medication will be needed to help you relax during your exam.
Do I really have to hold still?
Yes. An MRI exam is composed of a series of images. The very first image is essentially a map of the area you will have scanned. Each series of images will be based on that map. Each series takes 3 to 5 minutes. Any movement during this time causes the pictures to be "blurry" and the area we are focusing on may not be in the proper position thus making it necessary to repeat this series. This limits the radiologist's ability to interpret the study.
I have metal in my body from prior surgery. Can I have a MRI?
Most people who have metal in their body after surgery can have a MRI. For example, patients with hip or knee replacements can have a MRI 6 weeks after surgery. Other implanted devices require less time after surgery. Certain devices can never go into the MRI machine. Heart pacemakers, some implanted pumps and nerve stimulators cannot go into the MRI scanner. If you have had any prior surgery, you must inform the technologist prior to your scan. Also, if there is any chance there may be metal in your eyes (from welding, for example), please inform the technologist prior to your scan. If you have any questions about whether or not you have any metal that is not compatible with MRI, be sure to contact Nebraska Health Imaging prior to your exam.
How soon will I have results from my exam?
Nebraska Health Imaging will have the results of your examination to your doctor within 24 hours. Your doctor will then review the results and compare them with any other tests you may have had. After reviewing this information, the results of your exam will be available through your doctor. Be sure to check with your doctor for their process on getting your test results to you.
I will be seeing a specialist who requested that I bring my images with me. What do I need to do?
Often times, the specialist you are seeing will contact Nebraska Health Imaging to request a copy of your study. We will be happy to get the study to your doctors office, either electronically, via CD or a complete set of films. If you've already completed your examination and need a copy of your study, be sure to contact us 24 hours prior to the time that you need them
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