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What is an MRI?

MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a means of “seeing” inside of the body in order for doctors to find certain diseases or abnormal conditions. MRI does not rely on the type of radiation used for an x-ray or computed tomography (CT). The MRI examination requires specialized equipment including a powerful, constant magnetic field, rapidly changing local magnetic fields, radiofrequency energy, and dedicated equipment including a state of the art computer to create very clear pictures of internal body structures.

What are the reasons for an MRI?

MRI has become the preferred procedure for diagnosing a large number of potential problems in many different parts of the body. In general, MRI creates pictures that can show differences between healthy and unhealthy tissue. Doctors use MRI to examine the brain, spine, joints, pelvic region, and other body parts.

What should I expect?

There are no special preparations for an MRI exam. You can continue to take any medication as normally prescribed.

Before the MRI procedure, you will be asked to fill out a screening form asking about anything that might create a health risk or interfere with the examination. Even if you have undergone an MRI procedure before at Weatherford Regional Hospital or any other facility, you will still be asked to complete an MRI screening form. This is to ensure that we have your most recent medical information. The MRI technologist will go over this form with you and may ask you additional questions that pertain to your specific exam. The technologist will also be able to answer any questions you may have. Check with the MRI technologist at WRH if you have any questions or concerns about any implanted object or health condition that may impact the MRI procedure.

You will be asked to remove metal, loose items, or electronic devices before entering the MRI suite. You may have to change for the exam. A locked locker is available for these items. It is best to wear comfortable clothing.

During the MRI procedure, you will lie on a table. Cushions, padding, and blankets are available to make you comfortable and to help you relax. A device may be placed over the area to be scanned to improve the quality of images. Earplugs will be given to you to wear throughout the exam since the magnet makes a loud rhythmic noise. The part of the body being scanned will be moved to the center of the MRI magnet. You will stay at this area for the entire exam. The MRI technologist will speak over an intercom between each scan and the technologist will instruct you on how to alert her if you need her during the exam.

FAQs about MRI

How long will the exam take?

Most MRI exams take between 30 to 45 minutes to complete depending on the body part imaged and how many images are needed, although some may take 60 minutes or longer. You will be notified ahead of time how long your scan is expected to take.

Are IV’s or shots involved?

There are some MRI studies that an injection of MRI contrast will be used. This contrast, gadolinium, may be injected in the vein of the arm or hand and occurs near the end of the exam.

Safety of an MRI?

To date, over 200 million patients have had MRI exams. MRI has been shown to be extremely safe as long as simple safety precautions are taken. In general, MRI procedures produce no pain and cause no known short-term or long-term tissue damage of any kind.

What kind of equipment is used and what certification or credentials does the technologist have?

The MRI equipment is a GE 1.5 Tesla Shortbore Magnet. This unit provides a wide range of applications for joints, brains, backs, and other parts of the body. WRH has trained staff that has national certification in MRI to ensure image quality and clinical accuracy.

For additional questions, contact us at (580) 774-4735.