Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a diagnostic imaging test that uses strong magnet and radio waves to provide clear and detailed images of a patient’s internal organs and tissues. MRI is a valuable tool for the diagnosis of a broad range of conditions, including:
- Heart and vascular disease
- Joint and musculoskeletal disorders
Common Uses of MRI
Imaging of the Musculoskeletal System: MRI is often used to study the knee, ankle, foot, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand. This imaging test is also a highly accurate method for the evaluation of soft tissue structures such as tendons and ligaments, which are difficult to view using more standard diagnostic tests. Even subtle injuries are able to be easily detected. In addition, MRI is used for the diagnosis of spinal problems including disc herniation, spinal stenosis, and spinal tumors.
Imaging of the Heart: MRI of the heart, aorta, coronary arteries, and blood vessels is a tool for diagnosing coronary artery disease and other heart problems. Dr. Osuagwu can examine the size and thickness of the chambers of the heart and determine the extent of damage caused by heart disease.
Imaging for Cancer & Functional Disorders: Organs of the chest and abdomen such as the liver, lungs, and kidneys can be examined in great detail with MRI. This aids in the analysis and potential diagnosis of tumors and functional disorders. Because there is no radiation exposure is involved, MRI is also often used to examine the male and female reproductive systems.
How Should I Prepare for an MRI?
Before your MRI begins, your will need to remove all metal accessories from your person. This typically includes hair pins, jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids, dentures, etc. This step is necessary since these metal objects may interfere with the magnetic field, affecting the quality of the images taken.
Notify your technologist if you have:
- Any prosthetic joints.
- A pacemaker, defibrillator, or artificial heart value.
- An intrauterine device (IUD).
- Any metal plates, pins, screws, or surgical staples in your body.
- Tattoos or permanent make-up.
- If you are pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant.
- If you are claustrophobic.
What Should I Expect?
Depending on how many images are needed, the process generally takes between 15 and 45 minutes to complete. During their MRI, patients can will:
- Lie down on a sliding table and be comfortably positioned.
- Even though the technologist must leave the room, you will be able to communicate with them at any time using an intercom.
- If necessary, many MRI centers allow a friend or family member to stay in the room with you during the exam in order to ease any worries or anxieties.
- You will be asked remain still during the actual imaging process. However, between sequences (which last between 2-15 minutes) slight movement is allowed.
- Depending on the part of the body being examined, a contrast material may be used to enhance the visibility of certain tissues or blood vessels. About two-thirds of the way through the exam, the contrast material is injected intravenously if needed.
Speaking with Dr. Chuck About Your MRI
This test is completely painless, though it is common for patients to experience some degree of anxiety or even claustrophobia during the MRI. It is important to express all of your concerns with Dr. Chuck Osuagwu before the scan begins, as they will be able to ease your concerns by providing additional information, calming strategies, or potentially even administering a sedative.
To address any concerns or unanswered questions regarding your upcoming MRI, or to learn more about this particular technology and how the specialists at Centerville Medical Center use these images to help treat our patients, please call (972) 807-6016 today to schedule a consultation.