What is a MRI?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive medical imaging technique used to visualize the internal structures and function of the body. MRI provides great detail of the soft tissues, making it especially useful in imaging of the brain, spine and musculosketal (joints). MRI uses a very strong magnet and radiofrequency waves to produce computerized images. It does not use any ionizing radiation as in CT.
Why do I need a MRI?
Your doctor may request an MRI to help diagnose potential or existing cancers, heart disease, neurological diseases, infections, or injuries to bone, muscle or other tissue. An MRI has many advantages:
- No ionizing radiation is used in the testing
- Contrast materials, when used, have few/ rare side effects
- Images can be taken in a variety of planes and directions
An MRI may seem intimidating, but your doctor has asked for the scan for a reason. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about the need for your MRI in relation to your health concerns.
What to Expect During your MRI
The MRI scanner is a large, tunnel-shaped magnet. You will lie on a cushioned table. When you are comfortably positioned, the table will move through the magnet, acquiring images of your body. The technologist will leave the room during the exam, but will be able to hear, see and talk to you throughout the procedure.
Our state-of-the-art MRI offers maximum patient comfort and shorter exam times. The system has a spacious, well-lit opening at both ends. The complete exam usually takes less than 60 minutes. The exam consists of several imaging sequences lasting a few minutes each. When each sequence begins, you will hear a thumping sound. Other than sound, you should experience no unusual sensation during scanning. It is important you remain relaxed and as still as possible, to avoid blurring the images. If you would like earplugs, please ask the technologist.
For Your Safety
MRI exams pose no risk to the average patient when appropriate safety guidelines are followed. For us to provide quality patient care in a safe environment, you must answer specific screening questions several days before the MRI scan. Your responses allow us time to resolve any problems and avoid difficulties and delays on the day of the exam. Please review the list below, and if any categories apply to you, contact the MRI staff at 248-937-3970 before the day of your exam:
- Cardiac pacemaker
- An artificial heart valve
- Cerebral aneurysm clips
- History of open-heart surgery
- History/presence of metal fragments in your eyes
- Metal plate, pin or other metallic implant
- Intrauterine device, such as a Copper-7 IUD
- Ear prosthesis/cochlear implant
- Permanent (tattoo) eyeliner
- Previous gunshot wound/shrapnel
- Pregnant or breast-feeding
- Inability to lie flat/still for any length of time
- Have kidney disease
Any metallic substance on your person can affect the quality of the diagnostic images, cause discomfort or injury to you when you are placed in the magnetic field, and prohibit the performance of the exam.
The Day of your Exam
You should expect to be at the hospital for approximately 60 to 90 minutes. Please arrive promptly at your appointed time. We allow for approximately 30 minutes of preparation time before your actual exam begins. Do not eat or drink for two hours before your exam, four hours if you need sedation. You may take prescribed medications, if needed. Small sips of water are permitted.
Wear comfortable clothing without any metallic attachments. Your exam may require you to change into a hospital gown. Do not apply makeup and hairspray; these may alter the images. The magnetic field can erase credit cards, alter calculators and watches and is powerful enough to attract objects if carried too close. You will be asked to remove jewelry, wallets, watches, dentures, keys, coins, hairpins, etc. Please leave these objects at home if possible. You may also secure personal items in a locked area on-site, during your exam, if needed.
If you think you may require sedation due to severe pain or claustrophobia (fear of small/confined spaces) please call the imaging location before the day of your appointment.
Please remember to bring the following IMPORTANT items. If you do not have them with you when you arrive, you may need to reschedule your exam:
- Insurance card(s) and any referral/ authorization forms
- Picture identification
- Prescription/order for the test from your doctor
- Film taken at an earlier date or another facility that may pertain to your condition
If you are unable to keep your appointment, please call us at 1-877-MYTEST9 at least 24 hours in advance.
Your MRI Scan Results
DMC’s board-certified radiologists will interpret your MRI exam and send the results to your physician, usually within 24 hours.