MRI: Frequently Asked Questions
Christina Forster, RT(R)(MR) is one of YOA’s registered technologists.
Simple, safe and fast, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exams are among the most advanced medical imaging procedures.
The MRI system at Youngstown Orthopaedic Associates was designed with your safety and comfort in mind. Developed by GE Healthcare, it features compact, advanced coils, meaning the MRI experience is much more comfortable. And because it is also much more accurate, there is a reduced need for rescanning that is often necessary with older systems.
What is an MRI exam?
MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, a noninvasive diagnostic procedure. This is a valuable medical exam that uses magnetic fields and radio frequencies to generate detailed anatomical and functional images.
MRI scans have been performed safely and successfully for more than 20 years. MRI scans have an advantage over other forms of scanning because they can image different types of tissue.
More traditional forms of imaging, such as X-rays, are limited in how much tissue they can image. MRI scans can image more types of tissue, without ionizing radiation.
When are MRI exams needed?
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 is 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).
Is an MRI exam safe?
If you have any implants, pacemakers or metal objects in your body, be sure to consult with your technologist prior to the exam.MRI is a very safe and effective diagnostic procedure. It does not use ionizing radiation like an X-ray. As with many other medical imaging technologies, MRI scanners have been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and have been performed safely and successfully for more than 20 years.
What can I expect?
A technologist will escort you into the MRI scanning room. The technologist will have you lie on the padded table and make sure you are comfortable.
You’ll be asked to lie very still during the scan to minimize any body movement.
During the scan, you will hear a loud buzzing or thumping noise and may be given headphones or earplugs to help minimize it, but you will not feel anything unusual. The technologist will monitor you during the entire exam through a window and will communicate with you through an intercom.
How long will my exam take?
The actual scan portion of the exam takes 20 to 45 minutes, depending on the specific exam. You will be asked to stay still as the MRI scanner acquires images of your body.
Will IVs or shots be used?
Depending on the exam, a solution called “contrast” may be administered with an IV to help improve what the physician can see. Although contrast for MRI does not contain iodine, it is still important to let your doctor know beforehand if you have any specific allergies.
What about after my exam?
The radiologist will carefully analyze your MRI images and produce a report. Your physician will then discuss the results with you at your next office visit.