WHAT IS MRI?
MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and utilizes a strong magnet as the basis for visualizing normal and abnormal structures in the body. With sophisticated computer technology, our highly skilled technologists use the magnetic field and radio waves to painlessly and safely obtain images from inside the body.
These images provide crucial information to your doctor that helps him or her make accurate diagnoses and treatment plans for you. Occasionally, intravenous contrast may be given under certain indications to help improve visualization of certain structures.
WHAT IS MRA
MRA stands for Magnetic Resonance Angiography (angiography is the study of blood vessels), and is very similar to MRI. However, for an MRA, the technologist will use computer techniques designed specifically to visualize arteries and/or veins. From the patient's perspective while on the table during the exam, there is no difference from an MRI. As with MRI, occasionally contrast may be given. And similar to an MRI, the images will provide important information to your doctor to help him or her in your care.
WHAT TO EXPECT
After registration, you will be brought to a changing room and asked to change into MRI-safe clothing, which we will provide. You will also be asked to remove all loose metal, including jewelry. While a small locker will be provided for your clothing and personal items, it is recommended that you leave valuables at home.
After you have changed into MRI compatible clothing, you will be brought to a small pre-exam room near the MRI room. If intravenous contrast is to be given for your exam, an intravenous line will be placed at this time.
When the technologist is ready for you, a member of our staff will bring you into the room and position you on a special table. Ear plugs can be provided for your comfort, and headphones may be provided at times to help the exam pass more quickly. As the exam begins, the table will be moved into the magnet, and you will hear a series of noises while the magnet is acquiring images. It is not unusual for the table to move slightly for each new set of images. The key to obtaining the clearest images is for you to remain as still as possible for the duration of the exam. The length of the exam depends on the type of study being performed, but generally averages 20 to 30 minutes. Very few exams exceed 40 minutes. Our staff will remain in contact with you for the entire length of the exam.