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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

This test uses a magnetic field, radiofrequency pulses, and a computer to produce detailed images of body structures in multiple places. You may be asked to drink a contrast solution for better imaging, and you will most likely lie on a moving table as pictures are taken. MRI is a more detailed tool than x-ray and ultrasound and for certain organs or areas of the body, it provides better images than CT. MRI may not be recommended if you have a pacemaker or other metal implant.

Specialty Services / Procedures

  • Cardiac Imaging
  • MR Enterography
  • Routine Breast Imaging
  • MR Guided Breast Biopsies
  • Prostate Imaging
  • Pediatric Exams with and without conscious sedation

What Can I Expect Before My Exam?

Many exams involve IV contrast, oral contrast, or both, which helps highlight the tissues and give the radiologist more information with which to make a diagnosis. Any patient receiving IV contrast as part of their exam also receives a blood test to make sure the contrast is safe for them.

Because the MRI has a powerful magnetic field, you will be screened and checked to make absolutely sure you don’t have any metal objects with you before you enter the scan room. We also need to know specific details about any implants in your body.

The technologist performing your exam will be nearby and able to talk to you throughout the scan.

MRI exams require that you lie still for the entire length of the study. Most people are able to complete the exam easily, but if you find you are uncomfortable, we have staff trained to assist you in completing your exam through relaxation and visualization techniques.

Every exam is interpreted by a radiologist with specialty expertise in the specific area of the body being imaged. A specialist is capable of seeing and understanding subtle things due to advanced training and singular focus.

There is no preparation necessary for an MRI unless you are having an exam called an MRCP, an exam of your gallbladder and the ducts associated with it, or an enterography. You will have been given fasting and preparation instructions for those exams prior to your arrival.

Once you arrive in the department, you will be asked to complete a MR Environment Screening form and an MRI Contrast History form if your exam involves contrast.

If you are having an enterography exam, you will be given an oral contrast as well and will need to wait 2 hours after drinking it to allow it to coat your intestines completely.

If you are claustrophobic, please consult with your physician prior to the day of your appointment for assistance, as the department is not licensed to dispense medication.

What Can I Expect During My Exam?

Once in the scan room, the technologist will explain the exam to you before it begins and will give you ear plugs to muffle the noise the machine makes. You may be asked to lie on your back or on your stomach, and should plan to be in the machine for at least 45 minutes in order to complete your exam. You must remain still and quiet for the entire exam, as any movement, even speaking, can make the images blurry. The technologist will be monitoring you the entire time, and may ask you to hold your breath for some parts of the exam. Once the scan is completed, the technologist will review the images to make sure all the information needed is there and then you will be brought out of the scanner. The technologist will then remove your IV if you received one, and bring you out of the room to change back into your clothes.

The average MRI exam takes about 45 minutes. You should expect to be in our department for about 1-1.5 hours. If you are having an enterography, you may be in the department for up to 3 hours.

What Can I Expect After My Exam?

Once the test has been completed you can return home and resume your normal activities.

When Can I Expect My Results?

Once the radiologist reads your images, your ordering physician will typically receive your results within 24 to 48 hours. Your physician will go over the findings with you.

To obtain copies of your images, please call the film library at 617.414.5882.