What is MRI and What To Expect During Your MRI Exam

What is MRI?

MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. It uses powerful magnets, radio waves, and a computer to create detailed images of the inside of our body.

MRI can now be used to produce cross-sectional images of the body that show even very tiny structures, such as blood vessels. In this way, MRI has become a diagnostic tool for imaging soft tissues and bones. It is also being used to study various diseases and conditions, including cancerous tumors.

MRI uses a powerful magnetic field to align the magnetic spin of hydrogen protons in our body with a radiofrequency electromagnetic coil placed near the area being examined.

Types of MRI Machine

There are different types of magnetic resonance imaging machines so it’s important to know which type you will be receiving your exam on.

Open-Bore

An open bore MRI machine is where the patient will be lying in a large space.

Open-Bore machines are used for larger patients or if your having a long research study done.

Closed Bore

A closed bore machine has the patients’ feet inside of it, with their heads outside of the magnet, which allows for a more comfortable experience.

Closed-Bore machines are most common with exercising patients or if you’re short, claustrophobic, or have large implants.

What to Expect During Your Exam

The MRI machine will have you lay on a cushioned table that will be inserted into the machine. You will then be asked to lie still with your head inside the machine while pictures are taken.

If you will be lying in an open-bore MRI you’ll need to wear earplugs or headphones to block out noise.

Some exams only take 30 minutes while others may last up to two hours depending on how many views of images are needed. If you are claustrophobic it’s best to let your technician know ahead of time so they can make accommodations.

MRIs are a painless exam and will cause no harm or injury to your body.

Many patients feel a little queasy, but this is normal. There are even medications available that can help ease nausea.

At the end of your MRI, you’ll be asked to wait in the waiting area until all images have been taken and analyzed.

Once the diagnosis has been reached your doctor will contact you to discuss the results of your MRI.

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