MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

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.

MRI uses radiofrequency waves and a strong magnetic field to provide remarkably clear and detailed pictures of internal organs and tissues. There are no X-rays at all used in creating the images. The technique has proven very valuable for the diagnosis of a broad range of pathologic conditions in all parts of the body, including cancer, heart and vascular disease, stroke, and joint and musculoskeletal disorders.

MRI is highly effective for:

  • Uncovering sources of pain.
  • Diagnosing a variety of illnesses.
  • Tracking the effectiveness of treatments.
  • Giving you and your physician the information you need to make important decisions about your health.
  • Limbs and joints including the foot, ankle, knee, hip, elbow, shoulder and wrist (essential for diagnosing and monitoring sports related injuries)
  • Your back, including spinal cord, discs and musculature and nerves
  • Your head, including all structures of the brain (MRI is often used as the definitive diagnosis for neurological diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis)
  • Abdominal organs including the liver, kidney, spleen, pancreas and abdominal vessels

About the Procedure

The patient is placed on a sliding table by the technologist and positioned comfortably for the study in the bore of the scanner. The technologist leaves the room and programs individual MRI angles that typically last between 2 and 6 minutes each. A tapping or knocking noise will be heard during the imaging process. An intercom allows the patient and technologist to communicate with each other at any time during the study. Depending on the number of images necessary, the study will generally take 20-30 minutes. You will be asked not to move during each angle while breathing normally.

Depending upon the study, a contrast material (gadolinium) may be injected intravenously in an arm vein. This material will enhance certain tissues or blood vessels, making them more conspicuous and aiding diagnosis.