What exactly is MRI?
MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. MRI allows doctors to see inside the body to diagnose and identify possible medical conditions. An MRI simply samples signals from the water that makes up your body. Specialized antennae create highly defined images that can be used to make diagnoses.
You’ll discover that MRI testing is painless and much quicker than you think. In fact, you’ll probably be very comfortable as you lie on the padded table. The accuracy and speed of the latest MRI scanners means that you will be done quickly and your doctor will have to run fewer—if any—follow-up scans.
But keep in mind that an MRI isn’t for everyone.
So be sure to inform your physician if you have: a pacemaker, aneurysm clips in the brain, a shunt with telesensor, inner ear implants, metal fragments in one or both eyes, implanted spinal cord stimulators, or if you’re pregnant or breast feeding.
Why are MRI Scans important?
MRI scans allow doctors to see images of your internal organs and structures in great detail from many angles. This gives them information more quickly, and in many cases more economically, than past tests and exploratory surgeries.
What is the difference between a MRI exam and a CT exam?
Although the machines look similar and both are used by radiologists to see inside your body, MRI and CT’s work differently and are used for different purposes. A CT scan uses X-rays. An MRI does not use X-rays; it uses magnets and radio waves.
A CT Scan is a computerized x-ray that does cross-sectional images of the body. An MRI scan uses a powerful magnet in conjunction with radiofrequency waves to generate images of your internal organs and structures. MR and CT images compliment each other.
What to Expect
How long will the exam take?
That will depend on what is being studied, but a typical exam lasts between 20 to 60 minutes. You should allow extra time in case the exam lasts longer than expected.
How to prepare for the exam?
You can engage in normal activities and take any prescription medicine prior to your exam. Please plan to arrive 15 minutes early.
If you have metal implants, a cardiac stent or an IUD, you will need to bring documentation from the manufacturer or physician that placed the implant to your appointment. The information must have the name/type of implant placed along with the date on which it was placed.
A safety standard for MRI exams requires patients to wear a gown since belts, zippers, snaps, and thread in clothing may contain metal that disturbs MRI signals. You will have to remove all metallic objects such as glasses, hairpins, and dentures. Personal belongings can be locked in your dressing room. Please leave jewelry at home if possible.
Does the machine make a lot of noise?
The magnet makes a slight rapping sound as images are being taken. In between scans the machine is quiet. The MRI technologist will provide you with hearing protection, but its use will not prevent you from hearing the technologist if he or she speaks to you during the exam.
Do I have to hold still the whole time?
It is important for image clarity and the best scan results to hold still during the exam. The technologists will inform you when you may move between scans. Keep in mind a routine exam can take at least 20 minutes.
Will I be alone?
You will be in contact with a technologist at all times. Even when he or she is not in the MRI room, you will be able to talk to him or her by intercom. In some cases a family member is welcome to stay in the room with you during your scan.
How much will the MRI exam cost?
MANA MRI will provide a bill to you prior to your appointment.
If I don’t have insurance, can I go to MANA MRI?
Yes, insured and non-insured patients can go to MANA MRI.
If I don’t file with my insurance, can I pay the low self-pay rate?
With some insurance plans’ high deductibles, patients often ask, “if I don’t file with my insurance, can I pay the lower rate?” The answer is no. Imaging providers cannot charge the self-pay rate for insured patients because it would violate our contract with the insurance company.