Our physicians may use an MRI machine when it’s necessary to get a detailed image of part of your body. MRI scans are noninvasive, meaning they do not penetrate your body, and they do not hurt a bit. Wondering what to expect when going for your first MRI? Here are your answers:
What is an MRI
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic exam that uses a combination of a large magnet, radiofrequencies and a computer to produce detailed images of the body. MRI does not use ionizing radiation, unlike X-rays or computed tomography (CT scans).
How does it work?
An MRI machine uses a strong magnetic field created by passing an electric current through wires. As the current moves, other coils in the magnet send and receive radio waves, triggering protons inside the body to align themselves. The aligned protons then absorb the radio waves, causing them to start spinning. The spinning molecules release energy, sending signals that are picked up by the coil. These signals are received by a computer that analyzes and converts them to form a two-dimensional (2D) image of the part of the body being examined.
What should I expect during an MRI?
You will not have to do much to prepare for an MRI. Your doctor will give you a gown to change into and ask you to remove any jewelry, credit cards or metallic items that you may have on your body. Because MRIs use magnets, metal objects may interfere with the scan and lead to poor quality results.
The exam will take between 15 to 45 minutes, depending on the part of your body being examined. Be prepared to hear a loud tapping noise as the magnets are turned on and off during the scan.
State-of-the-art Technology: Open Multi-positional MRI
Hampton Roads Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine was the first in Virginia to offer upright MR imaging to patients throughout the Hampton Roads and surrounding areas.
This advanced technology provides many benefits, including:
· Ability to see a patient’s pathology when the patient is experiencing pain in standing, sitting, in flexion and extension, and rotation and lateral bending.
· High quality images, which allow physicians to provide a more accurate diagnosis in a more rapid manner, ultimately achieving a quicker recovery time for the patient.
· A more comfortable experience while undergoing an MRI scan. In addition, the open multi-positional MRI is an excellent choice for those who experience a claustrophobic feeling with traditional scanners, as there is nothing in front of the patient’s face. With upright imaging, the patient may watch a 42″ flat-screen TV during the scan.