MRI – Frequently Asked Questions

MRI – Frequently Asked Questions

Why is this test important to my doctor?

MRI allows doctors to see images of your anatomy and internal organs in great detail from many different angles. This gives them accurate information non-invasively, and in many cases more economically than other tests and exploratory surgery.

Is an MRI scan painful?

No. Since MRI is noninvasive, the examination is painless. However, your doctor may request a contrast agent be administered to better visualize a part of your anatomy. If this is the case, you will receive an intravenous injection during the examination.

Will I feel any sensation during my examination?

No, but you will hear a loud knocking or buzzing sound at various intervals during the exam. Other than that, you will not feel a thing.

Does MRI use x-rays?

No. MRI uses a powerful magnet in conjunction with radio frequency waves to generate images of your internal organs. There is no ionizing radiation (x-rays).

Will I fit in the magnet?

There are very few patients who cannot be comfortably accommodated for an MRI exam.

Is the machine open at both ends?

Yes. The MRI system is open at both ends, with adequate ventilation and lighting.

There are very few patients who cannot be comfortably accommodated for an MRI exam.

If I am having a head MRI scan, can I see outside the magnet during the exam?

Yes. Our MRI system has a special mirror arrangement to allow you to see outside the magnet at all times.

What if I become claustrophobic?

Most people have no reaction at all. However, if you have had claustrophobic reactions to enclosed spaces before, you should let the technologist know ahead of time. Even if you are uncomfortable in small spaces, staff members can help you complete the study.

Will I be alone in the scan room?

You will be in contact with the MRI technologist at all times. Even when the MRI technologist is not in the room, you will be able to talk to him or her via the intercom. The technologist is always able to see you through a large patient viewing window. In some cases, a family member or friend may stay in the scanning room with you during your examination.

Does the machine make a lot of noise?

The magnet makes a knocking sound as the images are being taken. In between the scan sequences, which last from 2-10 minutes, the machine is quiet. Ear plugs and headphones with music are available for you during the examination and when in use will not prevent you from hearing the technologist during the examination. You can bring CDs of your own music to listen to during the examination.

Do I have to hold still the whole time?

You do have to remain as still as possible, but the time passes quickly. Moving during this procedure may require repeating parts of the examination, so it is best to remain as still as possible for the best exam results.

How long will the exam take?

That will depend on what area of the body is being studied, but a typical exam usually lasts 30 minutes. Some exams last up to 60 minutes. You should always allow extra time in case the exam lasts longer than expected.

Will my insurance cover the cost of my exam?

Most insurance plans will reimburse the cost of most MRI exams. To find out if your insurance plan covers the specific MRI exam you will be having, contact your office personnel or insurance plan. Referrals may be required for some examinations.

Are there things that will prevent me from having an MRI scan?

Some patients with metal implants cannot be safely scanned with MRI. People with pacemakers, aneurysm clips especially in the brain, neural stimulators (TENS units), and cochlear implants cannot be scanned with MRI. Anyone with surgical pins, shrapnel, plates, or other type of metal implants should notify the technologist. If you have had a history of metal scrap or shrapnel within the eye, you may be required to have an x-ray to look for these items. A doctor will determine if a particular metal implant is approved to be in an MRI environment.

What else do I need to know?

There are very few patients who cannot be comfortably accommodated for an MRI exam.

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