What is a
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)?
imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive, usually painless medical test that helps
physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. An MRI machine uses a
large powerful magnet, a computer, and radio waves to create detailed
images of organs, soft tissues, bones and other internal structures. It
is can also be used to evaluate many blood vessel disorders by using
special non-invasive imaging techniques known as MRA, Magnetic Resonance
MRI is painless; it
requires minimal preparation, and it can lead to early detection and
treatment of many health problems without the use of ionizing radiation
Why do I need an
There are many reasons
why your physician may order an MRI. Indications may include: Back pain,
recent spine or joint injury, headaches, dizziness, stroke, metastatic
disease, and abdominal or pelvic pain.
insurance pay for an MRI?
Most insurance companies
require pre-authorization for an MRI exam. This means that your
physician must call your insurance company in advance and obtain
authorization number to assure that they will pay for the test. For
specific information about insurance coverage or for payment questions,
please contact your insurance company directly.
during the procedure?
During the MRI exam, you
will be lying on a firm table. The technologist will position you on the
table and then move the table to the center of the MRI machine. The
inside of the machine is like a giant tunnel that is well lit and open
on each end. The MRI makes a loud knocking noise while we take the
image. This will last from a few seconds to a few minutes at a time and
it is important that you remain perfectly still while the images are
being recorded. However, you will be able to relax between imaging
sequences. For your comfort, you will be given ear plugs or ear phones
to listen to music during the exam. Some patients find it uncomfortable
to remain still during MR imaging. Others experience a sense of being
closed-in (claustrophobia). Therefore, sedation can be arranged for
those patients who anticipate anxiety, but fewer than one in 20 require
it. It is normal for the area of your body being imaged to feel slightly
warm, but if it bothers you, notify the radiologist or technologist. The
test takes approximately one hour. When the test is finished, you are
free to go. The Radiologist will interpret the pictures and send a
report to your physician.
Does the MRI
exam require any needle sticks or injections?
The Radiologist is the
physician responsible for interpreting the MRI pictures and he/she also
determines whether or not you need to be given an MRI contrast injection
during your test. When needed to help make a diagnosis, an MRI contrast
agent is given to improve the quality of certain images. MRI contrast
reactions are rare and usually no more severe than a headache. If your
exam requires the use of an MRI contrast agent, the technologist or
nurse will start an IV before or during the exam and administer the
How do I prepare
to have this exam?
Because we use a large
magnet in the MRI, no metallic objects or mechanical devices can enter
the imaging room. You may want to keep this in mind when deciding what
to wear to your MRI appointment. Below is a list of suggestions to help
Wear something light weight and comfortable that is easy to take on and
off. Avoid wearing clothing that has a lot of metal snaps, zippers or
All metal jewelry and watches must be
products: Many hair products, such as "Topik"
to cover hair loss, or attachable hair weaves contain magnetic
particles, and they must be removed.
accessories: Any hair clips, ties, or
pins that are made of metal or have metal parts on them must be removed.
Because some make up, particularly mascara, is made with a metallic
base, it is best not to wear much make up the day of your appointment.
devices: If you wear dentures, or partial
dental plates, they must be removed.
& diet: You may continue to take any
routine medications prescribed by your physician and there are no
dietary restrictions unless you are scheduled to receive
medication for claustrophobia, pain, or general anesthesia.
considerations: Because we use a strong
magnet in the MRI, patients who have pacemakers cannot have an MRI exam.
You will be asked to complete an MRI Patient Screening form prior to
your exam. Additional information or testing may be needed prior to your
MRI exam to ensure that it is safe for you to have this test:
if you have any other
implanted medical devices such as cochlear implants, penile
implants, aneurysm clips, artificial heart valves, or stent
if you have ever been
hit in the eye or face with metal or metal shavings, or shot with a
have questions, please call, (502) 624-0776