Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a way to look inside the body without using radiation or x-rays. It uses a large magnet, radio waves, and a computer to make images. MRI can produce two or three dimensional images of the organs inside the body. At SSR, MRI’s are typically done for:
- Angiography (MRA)
- Head and Neck
- Brain (including Functional and Spectroscopy)
- Cardiac (Heart)
- Breast Biopsy
- Pelvis (including prostate and female organs)
Call SSR at 360-493-4646 as soon as you are aware of your appointment to review exam instructions and go through the safety screening questions. Generally, MRI exams do not require special preparation. With a few exceptions, patients may eat and take their usual medications. Pain medications will not affect the MRI. For patients who are experiencing pain, lying still for 30 minutes can be difficult. If you think you will have difficulties holding still due to pain we recommend taking your medication to ensure a successful exam.
Please inform SSR prior to your exam if you:
- Have a pacemaker
- Have aneurysm clips
- Have cochlear (ear) implants
- Have any metallic implants or devices in the body
- Have an implant of any type (i.e. prosthetic device, pain pumps, nerve stimulators, heart valves, aneurysm clips, etc.)
- Have any kidney problems
- Have history of ear surgery
- Have history of eye surgery
- Have history of brain surgery
- Have history of metal in eye
- Are or may be pregnant
- Are breast feeding
- Are claustrophobic (Please contact SSR prior to your appointment to make arrangements)
On the day of your exam wear comfortable, metal-free clothing and remember to remove all metal objects such as jewelry, glasses, clothes with zippers, keys, etc. The magnet can erase credit cards if they are not removed. If you are not wearing metal-free clothing, you will be asked to change into a gown.
At the time of your appointment, a technologist will take you to a changing room and provide you with a locker for your personal possessions. You will discuss your medical history, be told about the scan and have a chance to ask questions before the technologist escorts you into the MRI room.
Although the machine is large and may look intimidating, MRI procedures are pain free. Before the scan, a technologist will ask you to lie down on a table inside the machine which is open at both ends. About 90 percent of scans require you to lie on your back. A coil (a type of imaging device) may be placed near or around the body part being scanned. If a contrast agent is needed, you will get an IV injection during your exam. Allergic reaction to the contrast is rare, but can occur.
Exams last approximately 30-40 minutes for each body part scanned. The scanner makes a loud knocking noise when it is acquiring images. Earplugs or a headset will be provided to protect your ears from the noise. Each imaging sequence can take anywhere from 30 seconds to seven minutes. During the scan, you will need to lie very still because moving will cause blurry pictures. Unless otherwise instructed, breathe normally.
Once the exam is done, the images will be reviewed to ensure the appropriate area was captured.