Frequently Asked Questions

Get the answers you need to some of the most common questions we hear.

Who should have an MRI exam?

MRI is an advanced technique for collecting internal images of the body. It is useful for anyone who has an ailment or source of pain that has been difficult to diagnose.

Because of the accuracy and detail of MRI, it is especially useful for detecting tumors, tissue damage and other physical abnormalities.

It is also useful in determining the effectiveness of treatments by measuring, for example, the change in size of a tumor, which is helpful in making continued decisions about treatments.

Do I need a Doctor referral?

Yes, all Healthview scans require a referral from your healthcare provider.

Why is MRI helpful?

MRI allows doctors to see images of your internal organs and structures in great detail and from many angles. This gives them information more quickly and in many cases more economically than past tests and exploratory surgeries.

Will an MRI exam hurt?

No. Since MRI is “non-invasive”, the exam is painless and not harmful.

You just lie back, relax and stay as still as possible until the technologist has obtained all the necessary angles to produce an image of the area of interest.

Do I have to hold still the whole time?

You have to remain as still as possible. Just like a regular photograph, moving may result in a ‘blurred’ image. The technologist will let you know when you can move.

Will I be claustrophobic?

Very few people experience anxiety when having their MRI, but we are very sensitive to those who are uncomfortable within small spaces. If you have experienced anxiety due to small spaces before, please let the technologists know prior to your appointment and they will be happy to help you through it.

Is the procedure loud?

You’ll hear loud knocking noises during your scan. Headphones with music are provided to protect your hearing. The technologist will communicate to you through the headphones and can also hear you if you have any questions or concerns during the exam. You will also be given an emergency call bell to stop the exam, if needed.

Will I be alone in the MRI examination room?

We try to make the MRI examination as comfortable as possible. You may choose to be alone, or if you would like to have a friend or family member in the room with you, we can accommodate that. To ensure safety, we must first check that the friend or family member is free of metal objects such as aneurysm clips.

How long will an MRI exam take?

A typical exam lasts between 15 and 60 minutes.

Can anyone be scanned?

MRI technology is very safe for a large number of people. However, some people with metal implants such as pacemakers and aneurysm clips cannot be scanned. You will be required to provide a health history. Our staff will determine if a particular metal implant is acceptable for the MRI environment.

What is bone densitometry?

Bone densitometry or bone mass Densitometry testing is a way of measuring your bone density, which helps in estimating the strength of bones and the likelihood of bone fractures.

How can I tell if I'm at risk for osteoporosis?

The Osteoporosis Society of Canada recommends that all men and women over the age of 50 talk to their physician about their risk factors for osteoporosis.

They also state that there are a number of factors that indicate that one should be assessed for osteoporosis. According to the 2002 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Osteoporosis in Canada, these can be divided into major and minor risk factors.

Major risk factors:

  • Age greater than 65 years
  • Vertebral compression fracture
  • Fragility fracture after age 40
  • Family history of osteoporotic fracture (especially maternal hip fracture)
  • Systemic glucocorticoid therapy of greater than 3 months
  • Malabsorption syndrome
  • Primary hyperparathyroidism
  • Propensity to fall
  • Osteopenia apparent on x-ray film
  • Early menopause (before age 45)

Minor risk factors:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Past history of clinical hyperthyroidism
  • Chronic anticonvulsant therapy
  • Low dietary calcium intake
  • Smoker
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Excessive caffeine intake
  • Weight less than 57 kg (125 lbs.)
  • Weight loss greater than 10 % of weight at age 25
  • Chronic heparin therapy

A higher number of risk factors indicates a higher risk of having osteoporosis.

The Osteoporosis Society of Canada recommends that individuals over 50 who have at least one major risk factor or two minor risk factors (listed above) should have a bone Densitometry test.

Who should have a bone mass Densitometry test?

Any person may want to know the Densitometry of the bones. But, the bone Densitometry test is most often performed for people with a high risk of developing osteoporosis. It is also used to monitor the effectiveness of treatment for osteoporosis. The Osteoporosis Society of Canada also recommends that:

Individuals over 50 with at least one major risk factor or two minor risk factors should be tested.

Everyone over the age of 65 should be tested.

Will a bone densitometry test hurt?

Bone Densitometry tests are very simple and completely painless. You simply lie down on the padded bed of the densitometer and remain still while the arm of the scanner glides above you. The scanner arm never touches you, so the whole procedure is quick, painless and relaxing.

Are there size or weight restrictions?

Healthview offers a wide-bore MRI scanner for a more comfortable imaging experience. This is especially helpful for larger patients or patients prone to anxiety in tight spaces. The scanner bore measures 70cm. Patients whose weight exceeds 580 lbs may be unable to have a scan.