MRI and MRA
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses radio frequency waves and a strong magnetic field rather than X-rays to provide remarkably clear and detailed pictures of internal organs and tissues. The technique has proven valuable for the diagnosis of a broad range of pathologic conditions, including cancer, heart and vascular disease, stroke, joint and musculoskeletal disorders. MRI requires specialized equipment and expertise and allows evaluation of some body structures that may not be as visible with other imaging methods. Because MRI can give such clear pictures of soft-tissue structures near and around bones, it is the most sensitive exam for spinal and joint problems. MRI is widely used to diagnose sports-related injuries, especially those affecting the knee, shoulder, hip, elbow and wrist. The images reveal very small tears and injuries to ligaments and muscles.
Some MRI / MRA studies may require the injection of a contrast dye. This type of study improves visualization in disease detection and characterization, as well as increasing differentiation between normal and abnormal anatomic structures.
How Should You Prepare For MRI/MRA?
There is no need to alter your diet or medication prior to an MRI examination. The only exception is an MRCP MRI/abdominal. For this specific test, you cannot eat or drink two hours before the exam. Remove any metal items before the test. Let us know in advance if you have any implanted devices, pacemakers or metal clips in your body.
What to Expect During Your MRI/MRA
During your MRI you will lie motionless on a comfortable padded table. The table will slide into the MRI machine. During most MRI exams you will hear loud thumping noises or knocking sounds while the magnet is working. If the noise from the machine is uncomfortable for you, we provide headphones. Even with headphones, you will be able to speak with the technologist by intercom if you have a question or concern about the test. You must lie as still as possible, so we can obtain the best picture. Typically, an MRI exam lasts about 20-30 minutes, however the exam time can vary based upon the specific nature of your individual study. You will be reminded to tell the MRI technologist if you feel noticeable discomfort from the contrast dye. It is normal to feel a cool sensation at the injection site which will subside when the injection is finished.