MRI and MRA Frequently Asked Questions

 

MRI

High-field MRI is offered at Day Kimball Hospital and at the Plainfield Healthcare Center.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic test that promotes early detection of developing diseases and abnormalities. Doctors employ this non-invasive technique to see inside the human body in great detail without the use of radiation.

MRI uses a safe but powerful magnet, radio waves (the same kind that transmits FM music) and a computer system. The result - crystal-clear pictures of your internal organs, joints, brain or spine.

For more information about MRI, view the MRI Frequently Asked Questions (below). You may also visit WebMD.com and search "MRI."


MRA

High-field MRA offered at Day Kimball Hospital, and at the Plainfield Healthcare Center.

Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) is a type of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). It provides detailed images of blood vessels without the use of catheters or surgery. Like MRI, MRA is safe and painless.

A contrast agent called gadolinium is often used during MRA to make blood vessels more clearly visible in the pictures.

For more information about MRA, view the MRA Frequently Asked Questions (below). You may also visit WebMD.com and search "MRA."


MRI and MRA FAQs


What are MRI and MRA?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic test that promotes early detection of developing diseases and abnormalities. Doctors employ this non-invasive technique to see inside the human body in great detail without X-rays.

MRI uses a safe but powerful magnet, radio waves (the same kind that transmits FM music) and a computer system. The result - crystal-clear pictures of your internal organs, joints, brain or spine.

Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) is a type of MRI. It provides detailed images of blood vessels without the use of catheters or surgery. Like MRI, MRA is safe and painless.
A contrast agent called gadolinium is often used during MRA to make blood vessels more clearly visible in the pictures.

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What are the benefits of having an MRI/MRA performed?

MRI is often a complementary procedure to other diagnostic exams, such as X-Ray, PET/CT scans or nuclear medicine. MRI test results can provide insightful information that would not otherwise be seen to the naked eye. As a result, MRI can serve as an early detector of developing diseases and abnormalities.

MRA can detect problems with the blood vessels that may be causing reduced blood flow. With MRA, both the blood flow and the condition of the blood vessel walls can be seen.

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How should I prepare for an MRI/MRA exam?

Please review our preparation guidelines before your exam.

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Can I bring my own music?

Yes, you can bring your favorite CD, iPods or MP3 players. Our staff will play it through our stereo system, so you can listen to your own music through our MRI-safe headphones during the exam.

If you don't want to bring a CD, you can select one of our FM radio stations to listen to during your scan.

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What if I am claustrophobic?

Day Kimball Hospital and at the Plainfield Healthcare Center offers a State of the Art high-field open MRI for claustrophobic patients.

Inform your referring physician if you have ever experienced claustrophobia. If necessary, medication can be prescribed before your appointment. Please note that medication is not available on-site. Also, if you receive medication, bring someone with you who can drive you home, because you will not be able to drive yourself.

When you arrive for the exam, discuss your claustrophobia with your MRI technologist. He or she can provide music and prism glasses to reduce your anxiety.

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What are the weight limits for your equipment?

Factors such as a patient's body weight, body habitus, and scan type may determine whether or not the scan can be performed. The weight limits for our MRI equipment is 500 pounds.

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What should I expect during the exam?

An MRI technologist under the supervision of a radiologist (a doctor who assists in your medical diagnosis by interpreting the scans) will perform your scan.

Upon arriving for your appointment, you'll be greeted by a receptionist and asked a series of questions. Once in the scan room, the technologist will ask you to lie down on a cushioned table, which will automatically move into the magnet after you have been comfortably positioned. The magnet is open on both ends. Your technologist will stay in contact with you throughout the exam via an intercom system.

When the MRI scan begins, you will hear a muffled thumping sound that will last for several minutes. (This is when the scanner takes its pictures.) You may also feel a slight vibration, which is normal. Just relax - even take a nap - but you must lie as still as possible since any movement can distort the images.

Other than sound and a slight vibration, you should experience no other sensation during scanning. When scanning is complete, the technologist will return to help you off the table.

For certain studies, the injection of a contrast agent called gadolinium may be necessary to help better visualize the area being examined. Unlike contrast agents used in other radiological studies, gadolinium does not contain iodine and therefore rarely causes allergic reactions or side effects.

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How long will the scan take?

The average MRI scan takes 15 to 60 minutes, depending on the type of scan your doctor ordered.

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What should I expect after the exam?

Once your scan is complete, you may resume normal activities and diet.

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How do I find out the results?

Your referring physician will receive the results within 24 hours and will then contact you to discuss the findings. Your doctor can make arrangements with us if your results are needed urgently.

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