Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a method of looking inside the body.
Instead of X-rays, the MRI scanner uses magnetism and radio waves to
produce remarkably clear pictures of your head, spine, or other parts of
your body. An MRI scanner consists of a strong magnet with a radio
transmitter and receiver. These instruments gather the information out
of your body. MRI produces soft-tissue images and is used to distinguish
normal, healthy soft tissue from pathologic tissue.
Depending on what information your doctor needs, the MRI scan may
require the use of a contrast-agent given intravenously to assist in
visualization of certain structures in your body.
Do I Need to Take Any Precautions When Having an MRI?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a non-invasive and safe test. As Magnetic
Resonance Imaging works with a strong magnet and radio waves, you need
to tell us, if anything of the following applies to you or the person
that accompanies you into the exam room:
Implanted cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)
Magnetically-activated implant or device
Electronic implant or device
Spinal cord stimulator
Insulin or infusion pump
Any type of prosthesis or implant
Implanted drug infusion device
Artificial or prosthetic limb
Any metallic fragment or foreign body
Any external or internal metallic object
Cochlear implant or implanted hearing aid
Any metallic substance on you can affect the quality of the diagnostic
images. It can also cause discomfort or even injury to you when placed
into the metallic field.
Also, tell us if you are pregnant!
How Do I Prepare for an MRI?
No special preparation is needed prior to the exam, unless your doctor
has given you other instructions. You will be asked to complete a safety
screening form and answer questions pertaining to your medical history.
Please wear loose clothing without zippers or metallic parts. Remove all
jewelry, watches, hairpins, glasses, wallets and other metallic objects.
What Happens During an MRI Scan?
After you have removed all metal objects, the technologist will position
you on a special table. Your head will be placed in a padded plastic
cradle or on a pillow, and the table will then slide into the scanner.
The MAGNETOM Espree 1.5 Tesla Open Bore MRI system makes scanning
extremely comfortable and convenient for the patient. Thanks to MAGNETOM
Espree's remarkably short 125 cm magnet, over 60 percent typical MRI
exams can be done with the patients head outside of the Open Bore.
Anyway you will be able to communicate with the technologist during the
For clear pictures, you will be asked to hold very still and relax. In
some cases, you will be asked to hold your breath. Any movement,
especially of your head or back (even moving your jaw to talk) during
the scan will seriously blur the pictures. While the machine is taking
your pictures, you will hear rapidly repeating, thumping noises coming
from the walls of the scanner, earplugs may be provided. During this
time, you should breathe quietly and normally but otherwise refrain from
any movement, coughing or wiggling. When the thumping noise stops, you
must refrain from changing your position or moving about. This whole
procedure will usually be repeated several times, and the entire exam
ordinarily takes between 15 and 30 minutes to complete.
What Happens Next?
An experienced Main Line Health radiologist will analyze your MRI images
and send a report to your referring physician, who will inform you on
your test results. Results cannot be given directly to the patient or
For more information, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.