Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI : using radio waves in a magnetic field to create images
If you’ve ever had an MRI at a facility other than SIRA, you will be pleasantly surprised at the experience here. Our state-of-the-art MRI program in our facility has been specially designed to give you the most comfortable atmosphere possible. Even if claustrophobia is sometimes a problem for you, you need not worry about having your MRI done here. Our special short-bore magnet, coupled with our bright, windowed room will make your experience much better than you might expect.
MRI, short for magnetic resonance imaging, is a painless, non-surgical method of gaining very clear pictures of the inside of your body. It uses a magnetic field to get pictures of the brain, bones, chest, abdominal organs, pelvic regions and even blood vessels without radiation.
Note: You probably will not be able to have an MRI if you have any of the following:
- Heart pacemaker
- Heart defibrillator
- Brain aneurysm clips
- Metal in the eye (an x-ray will be taken to check this before your MRI is done if you’re not sure)
- If you are pregnant and in the first trimester
How does MRI work?
MRI uses a special radio wave in conjunction with a strong magnetic field. It works by measuring the tiny radio signals put off by the cells in your body as they respond to the machine’s radio wave and to the magnetic field of the machine. There is a receiver in the machine that picks up these tiny signals and sends them to a computer. This computer translates the signals into detailed pictures.
Because different types of cells will send off different strengths of signals, MRI is able to make a very clear picture of your body.
How to prepare for your MRI
If you are scheduled for a Breast MRI, after reading the rest of the information on this page, click here for details specific to that test. Otherwise, your physician will give you specific instructions to prepare for your MRI. If you are unsure about what you need to do, please call SIRA with your questions at 812-333-7675.
In general, most MRI patients must not eat or drink anything for two hours before your appointment time. However, if you will have an MRCP (MRI of the pancreas and gall bladder), you may not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your appointment.
If you are over the age of 65, diabetic, or with known renal disease, you must have lab work including BUN and creatinine exams done within 30 days prior to the contrast MRI
What to expect at your appointment
We will review your medical history and ask you to read and sign several forms related to your insurance, explanation about the MRI itself, and an authorization for us to do the procedure.
You will be asked if you have any artificial joints or plates or artificial valves, if you are pregnant, or if you have had surgery. You will be asked if you have any metal on your person. Expect to be asked to remove jewelry, including hairpins or barrettes.
You may be given a gown or scrubs to wear during the exam and your personal belongings will be kept in a locker during the exam.
Our technologists will position you carefully on the padded MRI table, using special supports to make sure that you do not move during the exam. Your technologist will place a specialized device called a “coil” around the part of your body being examined. You will be fitted with headphones and you will be able to hear and speak to the MRI technologists even after they have left the room.
If you are having a scan with contrast, you will be given an injection of the contrasting agent, or you may have an IV inserted so it can be given midway through your exam. If you receive the contrast agent midway through, it is especially important that you not move at all while you are being given this injection through the IV. The contrasting agent does not contain iodine and the only common side effect that you may have is a brief feeling of warmth or a metallic taste in your mouth. This is normal and will go away in a few seconds.
When you are undergoing the exam, you must lie quietly. The brightness of our room will help you if you tend toward claustrophobia. You will be encouraged not to talk during your exam, because it is important that you lie perfectly still. The exam usually lasts between 15 and 60 minutes.
You will not experience any pain due to the exam. You will hear loud intermittent hammering noises, but this is normal.
Your technologist will step out of the room as your exam begins, but will be in the next room monitoring your progress on a computer screen and through a window. The technologist will also be able to hear you and talk to you through an intercom. During your exam, the technologist will be watching you through a window while your scan is shown on the screen.
What to expect after the exam
After your MRI, you can expect no effects as a result of the exam. You can resume your normal activities. Any contrast substance that you took for your MRI will pass naturally within a day or so