MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a revolutionary technology that combines a powerful magnet, radio waves and advanced computers to produce extremely detailed images without side effects. These images allow physicians to see internally into your body, identify normal and abnormal tissues and assist in making diagnoses and or planning treatments.
Why do doctors recommend MRI?
Health care professionals use MRI scans to diagnose a variety of conditions, or to visualize the structure and function of the body. It provides detailed images of the body in any direction. MRI has much greater soft tissue contrast than computed tomography (CT) making it especially useful in neurological, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and oncological imaging.
What is an open MRI?
Some patients may feel claustrophobic during an MRI exam. Our new Espree wide bore MRI (available at both main campus and Outpatient Center -- Sunset Hills) delivers high quality MRI images while allowing patients of all sizes to rest comfortably during their exam. Due to its new design, 60% of patients can have their MRI done with their head outside of the system.
Before a MRI
Very little preparation is required. You may eat, drink and take your medications. Prior to the scan, you will be encouraged to use the restroom.
MRI of the abdomen: Patients having a MRI scan of the abdomen must not eat or drink anything at least 4 hours prior to the test.
MRI of the breast: Breast MRI patients must bring any outside mammograms or ultrasounds with them to their MRI appointment (unless done in the Breast HealthCare Center at Missouri Baptist Medical Center). Not having these films for comparison will delay the reading of the test.
Patients who are over 70 years of age, have diabetes, or poor kidney function, will need blood tests done prior to any MRI using IV contrast.
You will be asked to complete a questionnaire before your MRI exam with pertinent information regarding your health history in order to perform the test and to give the radiologist some background information.
Patients with implanted medical devices: If you have an implanted medical device, please be sure to inform your technician. You may be asked for additional information about the device in order to determine the safety of being in a highly magnetic field. Some devices are not safe, and a MRI may not be an option. Patients with pacemakers may NOT undergo a MRI.
- Patients who have had metal removed from their eyes may be asked to have an X-ray taken of their eyes in order to make sure that no metal remains in the eye.
- Tell your doctor if you are, or suspect you might be pregnant.
- No metal objects are allowed in the scan room. This includes, but is not limited to jewelry, watches, credit or bankcards, hairpins, clips or barrettes, wigs, hearing aids, beepers, keys or key chains, and loose pocket change. A locker area for the safekeeping of your valuables is provided outside the scan area.
We request that you arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled procedure time to complete paperwork and to change clothes if necessary.
What happens during a MRI exam?
Once it has been determined that you are safe to enter the scan room, a registered technologist will discuss the procedure with you and answer any questions you might have.
A technologist will position you as comfortably as possible on the scanning table. Depending on the body part to be examined, you will enter the scanner either feet first or head first, as the body part to be examined must be in the center of the magnet for the machine to work properly. You will be given earplugs or music to muffle the “tapping” noises that the machine will make. You also may be given a “call button” so you may contact the technologist at any time during the exam.
The technologist will perform your exam from an adjoining control room, and be in constant contact with you throughout the examination. It is important that once the technologist positions you for the exam, you remain very still and breathe normally.
During the scan you will not feel the magnets or the radio waves. The procedure is not painful. Most MRI procedures take between 20-60 minutes depending on the area being scanned.
With some procedures, an injection of Gadolinium may be used to enhance different tissue types, which helps the radiologist make a diagnosis.
What happens after a MRI exam?
After the MRI, you can return to daily activities, diet, and medications unless you required special medication to make you drowsy during the procedure.
Our MRI technologist will prepare your MRI Images for the radiologist to evaluate. A board-certified radiologist will interpret the results and dictate a written report. This information will be forwarded to your physician generally within 24 to 48 hours of completion of your procedure.