MRI, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, is a safe and non-invasive diagnostic procedure that uses a strong magnetic field and radiofrequencies to produce detailed anatomical and functional images of the structures within the body.
MRI scans have some distinct advantages over other forms of imaging because MRI can image different types of tissues and organs within the body without the use of ionizing radiation. MRI is sensitive to detecting certain pathologies and illnesses that can not always be easily defined by other imaging tools.
MRI exams are performed when people are ill or injured, or when a doctor suspects a medical problem that cannot be easily detected with a routine physical examination. MRI exams are non-invasive, meaning that no surgical procedures are required to view your body systems. MRI can also be used to obtain specific diagnostic information that hasn’t been provided by other imaging technologies such as ultrasound, traditional X-ray and computed tomography (CT). If you have any questions concerning your exam, please talk to your physician or the MRI technologist.
MRI exams are among the most advanced medical imaging procedures. Our goal is to provide the best possible medical care for you and your family. Your physician will be able to provide specific details about your exam and answer any questions.
What can you expect?
The majority of MRI exams do not require any special preparation. You may eat unless instructed otherwise. You can take you daily medications as prescribed. You will be given detailed instructions by our scheduling department when you make an appointment if there are any necessary preparations prior to your arrival on the day of your exam.
When you arrive, you will be escorted by an MRI technologist to the department. You will be asked to change into a patient gown or hospital scrubs and will be instructed to remove any metal objects from your person. These items include: jewelry, watches, earrings, wallets and purses. You will be provided with a locker to safely store your valuables during your exam. If possible, please leave valuables at home.
Some MRI exams may require the use of IV contrast as indicated by your physician or a Radiologist. The IV contrast agent used in MRI is referred to as Gadolinium. It is a safe non-iodinated contrast agent that is sometimes used to enhance blood vessels and other soft tissue structures or infections. If you are over 60 years of age or have a history of renal disease, diabetes, or hypertension you will need to obtain a blood test to determine your kidney function prior to your exam. You will be given further instructions if this is the case.
The MRI technologist will escort you into the exam room and position you comfortably on a padded table. The technologist will give you ear protection in the form of ear plugs or headphones to reduce the noise levels that are generated during the exam. You will hear the scanner making knocking, buzzing or pinging noises during imaging. You may also feel the table reset or move slightly at the completion of a specific set of images. The MRI technologist will be visually monitoring you through the window in the work area and verbally via the patient intercom system throughout the exam. It is important that you remain still and in the same position throughout the exam. Any movement during imaging may “blur” the images and thus may need to be repeated. Your MRI technologist will keep you well informed as to the progress of the exam and time remaining.
Most MRI exams take 20-45 minutes to complete.
The Radiologist will carefully analyze and interpret your MRI images and a detailed report will be sent to your physician. Your physician will discuss the results with you.
As with many other medical imaging technologies, MRI scanners have been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. MRI is a very safe exam when certain precautions are adhered to and certain preparations are made prior to entering into the magnetic environment. Heritage Valley Health System follows the MRI screening and safety guidelines set forth by the American College of Radiology to ensure that your safety and care are assured. If you have any medical implants, pacemaker or metal objects in your body, be sure to consult with your physician prior to the exam. Additionally, please consult with your physician to understand the risks and benefits of MRI more completely.
When you schedule your appointment you will be asked a series of screening questions to determine if there is anything that may prevent you from having an MRI. You will also be asked to complete a written screening form regarding your past medical and surgical history upon arrival in the Radiology department
It is not safe for you to have an MRI if you have any of the following:
Metallic fragments in your eyes
Some other types of implants may or may not be compatible with MRI. In some instances it may be necessary to obtain an operative report in order to verify the type of implanted medical device. You will be informed if that is the case. *Please bring with you any medical implant cards that state the type, make and date of surgery on the day of your appointment.
Our medical personnel will be able to determine if it is safe for you to have an MRI if you have any of the following:
Spinal cord stimulator*
Prosthetic heart valves*
Breast tissue expander*
Recent surgery or procedure
Metallic implants (orthopedic, etc)
Surgical staples or clips
Medication patches(some types of medicinal patches may need to be removed before beginning your exam)
Non-removable body piercings
If you think you may be claustrophobic, ask your doctor to prescribe medication prior to the exam. If you do receive medication, please bring someone with you that will be able to drive you home because you will not be able to drive yourself.
Please call: 1-866-901-4624 to schedule your appointment at any of the following locations.
**Heritage Valley’s new mobile MRI offers a technologically advanced scanner with an open bore design providing patients with unique access and comfort. The exclusive bore design allows for patients weighing up to 550 lbs to be examined by high field strength technology in a spacious and non-confining environment. We offer this service at the following locations: Chippewa, Women’s Health Center, and Robinson Township.