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MRI

General MRI 

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive, x-ray free scanning technology that uses radio waves and magnetic fields to produce clear and detailed images of nearly all the organs in the body. MRI especially excels in showing soft tissue organ abnormalities such as withing the brain, spinal cord, muscles and tendons. MRI can “look inside” a body to identify and locate abnormalities, producing images that can be invaluable tools in detecting tumors, infection, cancer, musculoskeletal injury and male and female reproductive systems.

Where do you offer this procedure?

Who is this procedure for?

MRI is commonly used to diagnose or monitor brain and spine abnormities; musculoskeletal injuries; liver, pancreas, kidney, adrenal and reproductive diseases; and blood vessel diseases.  Sometimes, MRI is used instead of CT scan to avoid x-ray radiation. This may be especially applicable to pediatric patients, young women, and those who will need many imaging follow-ups, such as those who need tumor surveillance.

How should I prepare for this procedure?

During the MRI procedure, patients may be asked to swallow or be injected with a contrast material to provide a clearer view of the targeted organs.  You may also be asked not to eat or drink for several hours before the test.  It is important to follow the directions provided by your doctor, as each MRI procedure can be different.

It is important to inform your doctor of any medical or electronic devices within your body, as they may interfere with the results of the exam.  Patients with an implanted defibrillator, cardiac pacemaker, unknown aneurysm clips, neural stimulator or cochlear implant should not undergo the MRI procedure.

What happens during the procedure?

Unlike x-rays and radioisotopes, MRI uses radiofrequency waves and a strong magnetic field to produce images of the targeted area. Radio waves detect differences in water concentration and distribution in various body tissues. Each scan can last from two to 15 minutes, but up to six images may be needed for a proper diagnosis, for an average total exam time of about 15 to 45 minutes.

During the procedure, an electric current is passed through wire coils in the MRI unit, which produces the magnetic field.  The patient lies on a moveable exam table that is slowly moved into the magnet area of the MRI unit.  A contrast material may be injected or swallowed before the procedure to produce clearer images. 

What will I experience during the procedure?

People with claustrophobia may feel uncomfortable in a traditional or “closed” MRI unit because they must lie still inside a narrow tunnel within the scanning magnet. Sedatives may be given for patients who experience difficulty in the confined space. There are “open” MRI units for those who are too claustrophobic or do not fit into “closed” units. However, the capabilities of the “open” MRI unit are usually less than that of a “closed” unit.”

What are the benefits of this procedure?

The MRI procedure is an effective diagnostic tool that does not involve any exposure to ionizing radiation, and especially excels in demonstrating soft tissue abnormalities. MRI examination can be superior, inferior or equal in diagnosis of abnormalities compared to CT scan depending on the abnormalities. At times, they may be complementary. The optimal use of MRI can be determined by your doctor or a qualified imager.

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Open MRI 

People with claustrophobia may feel uncomfortable in a traditional or “closed” MRI unit because they must lie still inside a narrow tunnel within the scanning magnet. Sedatives may be given for patients who experience difficulty in the confined space. We also feature newer “open” MRI units that do not enclose the patient to alleviate this problem. 

Where do you offer this procedure?

 

 

 

Breast MRI

A breast MRI is a noninvasive diagnostic imaging test that produces multiple cross-sectional images of the breast to help screen for breast cancer, especially after abnormal results show up on a mammogram or ultrasound.  This procedure generates detailed 2D and 3D images and should be performed in conjunction with a mammogram, as it is often useful in staging breast cancer and other conditions after they have been detected by a mammogram.

Where do you offer this procedure?

Who is this procedure recommended for?

Breast MRI is often recommended after breast cancer or other abnormalities have been identified by a mammogram.  This detailed procedure can help stage serious conditions to determine the best treatment options.  An MRI may also be used to help with early detection of breast cancer to prevent death and other serious complications. 

With the injection of contrast material, a breast MRI can also identify cysts, enlarged ducts, enlarged lymph nodes, hematomas and any other breast abnormalities, as well as determine the size and location of those that may be malignant.

How does the breast MRI procedure work?

During a breast MRI, the patient will lie facedown on a moveable padded table, with the breasts fitting into hollow depressions that are connected to the MRI machine through magnetic signals.  A contrast dye may be injected into the body to help easily identify any abnormalities.  The table then slides into the opening of the machine and a magnetic field is created around you.  The breast MRI procedure takes about an hour to perform.

Unlike x-rays and CT scans, an MRI does not use radiation to produce images.  Instead, radio waves are used to create a magnetic field that passes an electric current through the MRI machine.  This electric current passes over the body and produces signals that are used to generate images of the body. 

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Head and Neck MRI

A head and neck magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test uses a magnetic field to produce detailed images of the soft tissues, glands and other structures within the head and neck area. If you have already undergone a Head and Neck CT scan, your doctor may request a Head and Neck MRI to provide additional useful information about your condition.

Where do you offer this procedure?

Who is this procedure for?

A head and neck MRI is commonly used to evaluate and diagnose a wide range of symptoms and conditions affecting the eyes, ears, nose and throat. This procedure is also commonly performed to assess diseases affecting the salivary and thyroid glands. This procedure can also be used to stage and evaluate cancer.

Women who are pregnant are typically advised to not undergo an MRI procedure. It is not typically used in emergency situations or for acute injuries, as the procedure is longer than other types of imaging tests and cannot always deliver immediate results.

How should I prepare for this procedure?

Patients should remove all metal objects, including jewelry, eyeglasses and hair clips, prior to the procedure, as they may interfere with the magnetic field of the exam unit. It is important to notify your doctor of any implants, dental materials or other metal objects that are in your body, so that the procedure can be tailored as needed. You may be instructed to not eat or drink before the test, especially if a contrast material is being used.

What happens during the procedure?

During the head and neck MRI procedure, the patient lies on the exam table. A contrast material may be administered intravenously if needed. The exam table will then move into the MRI while images are captured from the magnetic field signals that pass through wire coils in the exam unit. The entire MRI procedure usually takes about 45 minutes to perform.

What are the benefits of this procedure?

MRI often detects abnormalities that cannot be found with other procedures. This test also does not involve any exposure to radiation, making it safe and noninvasive.

MR Angiogram (MRA)

Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) uses a magnetic field, radio waves and a contrast material to produce detailed images of blood vessels throughout the body. This procedure does not use ionizing radiation, and can effectively detect, diagnose and aid in the treatment of heart disorders, stroke and other blood vessel diseases.

Where do you offer this procedure?

Who is this procedure for?

An MR angiogram is used to examine blood vessels throughout the body, including in the brain, lungs, heart, kidneys, neck, legs, abdomen and more, and can be used to detect atherosclerosis, aneurysms, trauma and other blood vessel abnormalities. In addition to its diagnostic purposes, this procedure can also help plan for surgeries such as a coronary bypass or to guide doctors as they repair damaged and diseased blood vessels with stents and other treatment methods. The MRA procedure should not be performed on women who are pregnant to protect the fetus from the potential harm from strong magnetic field and contrast material.

How should I prepare for this procedure?

On the day of the MR angiogram procedure, patients should wear loose clothing and remove all metal objects, including jewelry, eyeglasses and hair clips. Hearing aids, dentures and other removable objects should be taken out as well to avoid interfering with the exam.

If a contrast material is being used, you may be asked to refrain from eating or drinking for several hours before the exam. Your doctor will inform you of any special steps to take before the procedure.

What happens during the procedure?

During the MR angiogram procedure, the doctor will inject a contrast material intravenously into a vein in the hand or arm. You will lie on the exam table and then move into the magnetic field of the MRI unit, where a series of images will be taken. You may be moved through the machine several times. The entire MRA procedure usually takes 30 to 60 minutes to perform.

What are the benefits of this procedure?

Performing an MR angiography can effectively diagnose and detect images of the blood vessels through a less invasive and less timely procedure than a catheter angiogram. This procedure can often eliminate the need for surgery through early detection and identification of conditions.

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