Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a technique that uses advanced magnets and computers to create detailed images of the body.
MR imaging is a noninvasive way for a radiologist to examine the organs, tissues and skeletal system. It produces high-resolution images that help diagnose a variety of medical problems.
The most common organ systems evaluated with MR imaging are the neurological system (brain and spinal cord), and the musculoskeletal system (bones, joints and muscles). High resolution images of these organ systems provide fine detailed evaluations, where radiologists can assess for aneurysms, spinal cord abnormalities, multiple sclerosis, strokes, brain tumors, ligament and cartilage tears, and bone tumors.
The abdominal organs, heart, blood vessels and breasts can also be evaluated in fine detail with MR imaging.
Most MRI machines are tube-shaped with a central bed for you to lie down inside. A technologist monitors you during the exam, and you can talk with him or her via a microphone. The procedure is painless. There are no moving parts around you. However, the machine does make a lot of noise. This cannot be avoided. However, we do provide earplugs or music to help block the noise.
If you are worried about feeling claustrophobic inside the MRI machine, talk to your doctor prior to your exam. He or she may make arrangements for you to receive a sedative before the exam.
An MRI typically lasts less than an hour. You must hold still because motion can result in blurring of the images. In some cases, contrast agents are injected into your veins to enhance the appearance of certain tissues or blood vessels.
When the test is complete, you may resume your usual activities immediately after the scan, unless you received a mild sedative. Nursing mothers should not breast-feed for 24 hours after an MRI exam if intravenous contrast was used.