Q: Why will I receive a screening phone call prior to my MRI?
A: If you are scheduled for an MRI, our MRI Coordinator will call you a few days before your exam and ask you a few simple questions, such as: “Have you had heart surgery?” “Have you had eye, or ear surgery?” “Have you had a colonoscopy or endoscopy in the past two weeks?” “Do you have any stents or shunts implanted in your body?” The reason for this screening is to ensure that you do not have a metal implant or device which is not compatible with the magnetic waves emitted from an MRI scanner. Moreover, some tattoos or implants could be perfectly safe on one MRI machine, but could be incompatible with another MRI machine. The expertise of our MR Coordinator will ensure that you have a safe and pleasant MRI experience.
Q: I have metal in my body from prior surgery. Can I have an MRI?
A: Most people who have metal in their body after surgery can have an MRI. For example, patients with hip or knee replacements can have an MRI six weeks after surgery. Other implanted devices require less time after surgery. Certain devices can never go into the MRI machine and these include heart pacemakers, and some implanted pumps and nerve stimulators. Some brain aneurysm clips (particularly older ones) cannot go into the scanner. If you have had any prior surgery, you must let the technologist know prior to the scan. Also, if there is any chance there may be metal in any part of your body from a prior injury or from grinding metal, please inform the technologist prior to the scan.
Q: How long will the exam take?
A: The length of the exam depends on the body part being examined. Most exams take from 25 minutes to one hour.
Q: I’m claustrophobic. How far do I go into the scanner?
A: In order to get the best images possible, the part of the body being studied has to be in the middle of the scanner. Thus, if you are having a brain MRI, your head will have to be in the middle of the scanner. If you are having an ankle MRI, your ankle will be in the scanner, but your head will not. If you have severe claustrophobia, ask your doctor for some medication to help you relax during the scan. Please have someone accompany you who can drive you home if you do take any medication.
Both of RIMI’s 3T MRI systems have a more spacious scanning opening which provides greater patient comfort, especially for claustrophobic patients. Most 3T exams have shorter scanning times than compared to other MRI machines, especially “open” scanners. Moreover, 3T imaging offers the highest image quality available than any other MRI machine. The 3T systems also include a video entertainment system, with a DVD library, that is compatible with iPods, iPhones, and MP3 players, to help make your exam more comfortable.
Q: How and when will I get the results of the exam?
A: Your MRI examination will usually be read the same day so that your doctor will receive the results within one or two days.
Q: Do I really have to hold still?
A: Yes. An MRI exam is composed of a series of images. Each series takes 3 to 5 minutes. Any movement during this time causes the pictures to be “blurry” and limits the radiologist’s ability to interpret the study. Also, we focus the exam on a specific part of the body. If you move, the area we are focusing on may no longer be in the proper position.