Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find a list of frequently asked questions:
What is MRI?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is technology which allows your doctor to have the clearest possible look at your internal anatomy. MRI does not use x-rays or radiation. MRI uses powerful magnetic field and radio waves to provide computerized images, which appear as “slices” of the anatomy, for the radiologist to determine the differences between healthy and abnormal tissue. Your doctor will use this information to help determine the course of your treatment. With SHIN MRI’s recent installation of 3Tesla MRI, we are able to obtain exquisite anatomic detail of all body parts at reduced scan times for maximum patient comfort.
How Does MRI Work?
Your body is composed of atoms. Water or Hydrogen atoms make up 95% of the human body. Usually the hydrogen atoms within the body spin at random. When you have an MRI, you are placed in a strong magnetic field that is up to 8,000 times stronger than that of the earth, which causes these atoms to realign and spin all in the same direction. MRI acquires images that are a “slice” of anatomy. Using the magnetic fields and radio waves, remarkably detailed cross-sectional images of the body can be obtained. A computer processes these images to produce detailed pictures of the anatomy.
Why Is MRI Performed?
MRI is performed to provide information about internal tissue that cannot be viewed through x-ray. With MRI, the smallest structures in the body can be imaged.
What Can I Expect During An MRI Examination?
Some patients, but not all, need an injection of contrast as part of the MRI examination. When the Radiologist decides that contrast is necessary, a pharmaceutical agent called “Gadolinium” is administered. The Gadolinium contrast is used to make specific organs, blood vessels, or tissue to stand out. This helps highlight the structures to better assess for disease or injury. The referring doctor provides SHIN MRI with information about each patient’s specific medical condition. The decision to use, or not use an injection of contrast is made on an individual basis, based on all the information, and the body part being examined.
During the exam you may hear a tapping noise. This is normal and is created when some of the parts of the magnet (gradient coils) are turned on and off, very rapidly, to measure the signal that comes from the patients body. The knocking may be loud enough to require ear plugs or through head phones which we provide. During the examination, you will be able to communicate with the technologist at all times via intercom.
How Long Will My MRI Examination Take?
At Shin MRI, we offer an array of examinations. Depending on the type of exam you receive, the length of the procedure will typically be between 15-30 minutes.
Is MRI Safe?
Since MRI does not use radiation there are no apparent risks. If you are pregnant or nursing you should consult your physician before having an MRI scan. MRI uses a very strong magnet that can pull on metallic objects. For safety reasons, the MRI staff must determine if you have metal in your body. Some patients may have small pieces of metal in their eyes, metallic implants, prosthetic devices that contain metal, surgical clips, certain types of stents, or other implanted devices that could be sensitive to the magnetic field. Occasionally, your doctor may order an x-ray to screen for metallic objects prior to your MRI exam.
Our MRI technologists are certified and our Radiologist have extensive experience in MRI.
Who Cannot Have An MRI?
Almost everyone can have an MRI with complete safety. The technologist will ask certain questions about your medical history to ensure the possible results from your exam.
Patients with the following conditions are not candidates for MRI:
• Patients with cardiac pacemakers, neuro-stimulators or other electrical devices in their bodies.
• Patients with cerebral aneurysm clips are sometimes excluded. Please check with our staff if you have any questions.
• Pregnant women are generally not recommended for MRI scans. Be sure to inform your physician and our staff if you are pregnant.
Do I Need A Referral (Prescription) To Have My MRI Examination?
Your doctor (M.D., D.D., D.C., N.P., or PA-C) must provide a referral (prescription) in order for us to send a claim to your insurance company, but if you are paying out of pocket no prescription is required, legally. In addition, some insurance carriers require precertification. As a courtesy, our staff can let your doctors office know if a precertification is require by your insurance, or you may discuss this with your doctor and your insurance company prior to your test.
When Will I Know The Results Of My Examination?
A detailed typed report of the procedure and findings will be sent promptly to your physician within 1 business day. Your doctor will then call you discuss the results. Urgent results are telephoned immediately to your physician.
What Should I Do To Prepare For An MRI Exam?
What is the difference between open and standard MRI?
Standard High Field MRI is more highly diagnostic because of the strong magnetic field (1-3 Tesla) which results in high spatial resolution and contrast and shorter scan time.
Open MRI was developed for grossly obsess (+300 lbs) patients that could not fit into a standard system using low strength permanent magnets (0.2-0.5 Tesla) which results in less spatial resolution and prolonged scan times (45 minutes or longer) and claustrophobic patients that can not tolerate standard systems.
Most open MRI systems do not have the Diffusion-Weighting capacity for acute stroke detection.