FAQs

  • How does the MRI work?

    The examination does not involve X-ray radiation or radioactive material and requires virtually no preparation. Imaging is based on interactions between the magnetic field of a large magnet and the atoms within your body. Timed pulses or radio waves are emitted within the magnet. Returning signals from the body are received in the form of radio waves detected by an antenna inside the magnet. A specifically designed computer converts these signals into a visible image in one or more of your body's anatomic planes.

  • What happens during an exam?

    During the scan you will lie awake on a comfortable table like bed. Nothing will touch your body, and you will feel no strange sensations or pain. Blankets will be provided to keep you warm, as the magnet and computers require a cooler temperature than may be normally comfortable to you. A two-way intercom will be provided so that you may communicate with the technologist at all times if any concerns arise.

    The entire examination should take less than one hour. The actual scanning occurs during only a part of this time. It is important to remain still and relaxed while in the magnet, and we will accommodate any needs that may enhance your comfort level.

  • Is it safe?

    Absolutely. There are no adverse reactions to the magnetic resonance scans at the levels used. No ionizing radiation (X-Ray) is used. The procedure is safe for patients who are allergic to iodinated radiography contrast agents. The Hitachi open MRI decreases claustrophobic effects, allowing patients to feel at ease while getting the results they need.

    The open MRI also decreases the cost and risks for pediatric patients, as they may not need sedatives to receive imaging, as in the tunnel MRI. Since the Open MRI produces superior quality images, the need for exploratory surgery decreases substantially.

  • What can it tell?

    The MRI examination maps the soft tissues of the body with exquisite detail. It is helpful in the diagnostic evaluation of the head, chest, heart, abdomen, extremities, and other body systems. The brain and spinal cord are especially well seen by an MRI. Differentiation between grey and white matter of the brain is easily seen with an MRI, as is the demonstration of swelling and multiple sclerosis. The test may help answer problems that are difficult or impossible to solve by other imaging methods.

  • What happens after I am finished?

    All images will be reviewed by one of our skilled radiologists, and a report along with the images will be sent via our Picture Archiving Communications System to your physician immediately.

  • How long does the procedure take?

    The exams usually take between 30-45 minutes.

  • When will my doctor get the results of my examination?

    Your doctor will receive the images almost immediately, via our innovative electronic technology, and reports will be available as soon as dictation is completed.

  • Can I eat before the exam?

    Yes. There are no eating restrictions prior to having an MRI. However if your doctor has requested the use of a contrast agent for your MRI then it would be best not to eat 2 hours prior to your exam so as to further minimize the already unlikely event of nausea.

  • What if I need to cancel or reschedule my appointment?

    We can only serve one patient at a time so an appointment means that we have reserved that time for you. If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment we ask that you call us at least 24 hours in advance.

  • What preparations are necessary for an MRI?

    For most MRI scans no preparation is necessary. You do not need to fast or follow a special diet. The technologist or the radiologist supervising your study may ask further medical questions of you. You will be asked about any metallic implants (artificial joints, skull plates, dentures, metal splinters, etc.).

    You will be asked to change into a gown and to remove all metallic objects from your body (keys, jewellery, watches, hairpins, eyeglasses, hearing aids, credit cards, etc.). A locked cabinet will be provided for your valuables.

    Patients with pacemakers, neural-sensory devices, or who have had cranial vascular surgery cannot undergo an MR scan. Please inform the technologist if you have ever been exposed to flying metal fragments, either in your work (welding, etc.) or accidentally. If so, it will be necessary to obtain an X-ray of the eye region before beginning the scan.

    If you have aneurysm clips, heart valves, stents, please let us know when scheduling. For an Abdomen and Pelvis MRI, please have nothing to eat or drink four hours before the test. If your exam requires a contrast injection, the technologist will explain the procedure to you. You will be required to sign a consent form.

  • I have heard that MRI's can make you feel claustrophobic?

    This is a common occurrence with the "tunnel" style MRI's. Our OPEN MRI systems are spacious, comfortable and quiet. Most patients who could not tolerate the "tunnel" have no trouble, and do not feel claustrophobic in the OPEN MRI.

  • What if I'm a bit heavy or can't tolerate closed spaces (claustrophobia)?

    Our MRI system is open on all sides making it airy, bright, and OPEN. You will not have that enclosed feeling. Our scanning table has no weight limit.

  • Does my doctor need to refer me to for an MRI?

    In order to perform the study we need a referral from your physician. Your doctor will provide us with the necessary information to perform the most accurate study.

  • Is the image quality the same as a closed MRI?

    Yes, the images from our Hitachi OPEN MRI system are comparable to the images from a closed system. Using state-of-the-art technology, and aggressively pursuing the latest procedural developments, has dramatically improved the quality of scans generated by the open MRI systems.

  • Are there any people who cannot, or should not have an MRI?

    MRI poses no danger to the majority of patients. Certain medical conditions will prevent someone from having an MRI. The strong magnetic field can cause disruption to internally placed devices such as pacemakers, heart valves, aneurysm clips.

  • Can my child have an MRI?

    Yes, your child can have an MRI. Children under 5 years old are generally given a mild sedative during the scan to keep the child from moving. With the open MRI system, a parent may stay in the scan room with the child, and hold their hand during the scan. This is a great way to relieve any apprehension the child or the parent may have about the procedure.

  • What if I'm pregnant?

    MRI is usually not recommended for pregnant patients, particularly in the first trimester, although there are no known side effects from MRI.

  • What is the difference between MRI and CAT scan?

    One of the most basic differences between the two tests is that CT Scanning uses x-rays and MRI does not. In most situations, MRI is superior to a CT scan in the demonstration of soft tissue pathology. Your doctor can best advise which test would be most appropriate for you.

    Advantages of MRI

    • No X-rays
    • Best for imaging Spine, Joints, Pituitary Tumors, and Multiple Sclerosis
    • Reduces anxiety for claustrophobic patients (Open MRI Systems)
    • Able to scan large patients (Open MRI Systems)

    Disadvantages of MRI

    • Longer scanning times
    • Patients with pacemakers, intra-cerebral aneurysm clips, can not be scanned.