Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)


Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, uses radio waves and a powerful magnetic field to produce cross-sectional images of internal body structures. An MRI is a painless procedure that can clearly map out soft tissue, producing images that are extremely precise without exposing patients to radiation or radioactive solutions. An MRI can provide physicians with vital information to diagnose diseases or disorders so that proper treatment can be initiated promptly, often eliminating the need for more invasive procedures. MRI is particularly valuable in studying the brain and spinal cord diseases; revealing and diagnosing tumors and metastatic diseases; providing detailed images of the cardiovascular system; examining joints and soft tissues; imaging abdominal organs – especially any abnormal masses or aneurysms; detecting abnormalities of the neck, abdomen and pelvis; and identifying musculoskeletal problems.

Englewood Health is home to a 3 Tesla MRI machine, one of the most advanced tools of its kind. When compared to the traditional 1.5T MRI system, the 3T delivers twice the magnetic field strength, which results in higher-resolution images. The machine is especially helpful in neurosurgery and orthopedics. A wider, open design helps reduce feelings of claustrophobia and accommodates patients weighing up to 550 pounds.

What can I expect during an MRI procedure?

MRI is a painless procedure. Most scans take about 45 minutes. Our technologists will explain the procedure and remain to answer any questions. Patients must lie still for the duration of the test on a comfortable padded table. The short-bore magnets allow patients the comfort of gently gliding into the MRI’s short, flared opening cylinder, thus usually eliminating the claustrophobic effects of longer magnets. Sometimes an injection of a contrast material is required. Patients are encouraged to discuss concerns about the test with their doctor and the technologist.

How do I prepare for an MRI?

There is usually no special preparation necessary before having an MRI. Food and drink intake is typically not restricted before the procedure. However, patients will be asked to remove all metallic objects, such as jewelry, glasses and clothing with zippers, before the exam. Some people should not receive an MRI. People with metal implants, such pacemakers, aneurysm clips and implanted stimulating devices, cannot have an MRI. Patients should discuss these health issues with their doctor. Patients should wear comfortable clothing without zippers, such as a sweatsuit, wear little or no makeup, and leave jewelry at home.

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