MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
Although the images from a CT scan and MRI may look similar, they are totally different. The MRI does not use radiation. Instead, it makes use of a powerful magnetic field and radiofrequencies that cause the body's hydrogen atoms to move in and out of normal alignment. The process of re-alignment is recorded to produce pictures or images of your internal organs and structures. While CT can differentiate between soft tissues and bony structures, MRI is preferable when imaging soft tissues. Most common MRI studies are of the brain, knee, shoulder, spine, abdomen and the vascular system.
What can I expect during the exam?
A highly trained MRI technologist will assist you in getting situated and comfortable, explain the procedure, and answer questions you may have. The technologist will monitor the exam from the adjacent control room and you will be able to communicate with them using a two-way intercom. If you desire you may listen to music during the exam through headphones. As the exam begins, the table will gently slide into the magnet's opening. The first of multiple MRI sequences will then begin and you will be asked to remain still throughout the procedure. During each sequence, you will hear a tapping noise indicating the imaging process is in progress. The area of the body to be scanned and the complexity of the study determine the number of sequences. MRI has the ability to display details that cannot be seen with other imaging techniques.
For certain procedures, patients may be given an intravenous injection to increase the contrast between different tissues. An MRI exam is painless with no side or after effects.
Will I be exposed to radiation?
No radiation is used during an MRI exam. Unlike a traditional x-ray, MRI relies on a magnetic field and radio frequency.
How long will the exam take?
Depending on how many images are to be generated, an MRI exam generally takes 30 to 45 minutes, although a very detailed study may take longer.
How do I prepare for the exam?
In most cases, no special preparation is needed. You may continue your daily routine, eating, drinking and taking any medications as you normally would. Should your exam require any special preparations, the healthcare provider scheduling your exam will give you instructions.
Everyone needs to be screened before entering the MRI suite. Any metallic object might be affected or attracted by the magnetic power of the MRI. It is important that no metal of any kind be permitted in the exam room. It is recommended that you wear clothing without metal zippers, snaps or buttons. If you prefer, you may change into a hospital gown prior to your exam. You will be asked to remove all jewelry, coins, keys, bobby pins, credit cards, pocketknives, and any other metallic objects before entering the exam room. Some permanent eyeliner and jewelry can cause injury. Make-up that contains metal flakes can heat and cause skin irritation. Ladies you may be asked to wash off removable makeup before the exam to avoid the risk of eye injury. Tattoos can contain metal dyes that can heat and cause skin irritation.
Some patients may have metal inside their bodies. Before entering the MRI suite, please inform your technologist if you have:
a cardiac pacemaker, artificial heart valve or aneurysm clips
any type of metal plate, prosthesis, pin or metallic implant
an intrauterine device, such as Copper-7 IUD
any metal fragments in your body (from a previous gunshot wound or from exposure to metal fragments on the job)
In some cases, patients with any of the above will be rescheduled for an alternative diagnostic exam. Our personnel will determine whether or not you should proceed with this type of procedure.
To learn more about MRI safety visit www.MRIsafety.com.
How will I know the results?
Following your exam, a radiologist specializing in MRI will analyze and interpret the images from your exam and prepare a full report. This report will be sent directly to your physician who will share the results with you. To request a copy of the report, you may contact your physician's office or Midland Memorial Hospital's Medical Records Department at (432) 221-1600.
How do I schedule an appointment?
The physician's office will either contact the MRI department to schedule your appointment or may have you call and make the arrangements. If your physician would like for you to make the arrangements please contact us at (432) 221-4911 and have your order available when you call. We will need to know the type of MRI and the diagnosis your physician has indicated for the procedure.
What do I need to bring with me the day of the exam?
You will need to bring the order your physician gave you, a form of personal identification, and any insurance or Medicare information. If you are taking any medications, please print and complete the second page of the Pocket Medication Card form and bring the list with you. Please do not bring the medications.This will help expedite your visit and reduce the possibility of losing any of your medications.
Midland Memorial Hospital
400 Rosalind Redfern Grover Parkway
Midland, Texas 79701-9980