April 28, 2017

MRI FAQ

Imaging

What is an MRI?
An MRI creates high-quality images through the combination of a strong magnetic field and radio waves. An MRI can detect certain diseases much earlier than other medical imaging techniques can, making it the diagnostic tool of choice for many physicians. An MRI is different from a CT scan because it does not use ionizing (X-ray) radiation.

How long does an MRI scan take?
The length of the exam depends on the type of study being performed. Usually an MRI takes anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes.

Will I need a driver?
Some procedures require a driver for your safety (i.e., if sedation is administered for claustrophobia). If you are claustrophobic, inform the scheduler when the appointment is made.

Will my head be in or out of the scanner?
The area of the body being scanned will be in the center of the scanner. For most procedures–with the exception of the head, neck, or shoulder areas–your head will remain outside the scanner.

Is there any risk to having an MRI?
An MRI is very safe. There are no health risks associated with the magnetic field or the radio waves used by the machine, nor have any side effects been reported. Patients with a pacemaker or certain types of aneurysm clips should not have an MRI.

What body parts can the MRI scanner evaluate?
The scanner can take pictures of any part of the body. Typical exams consist of the head, neck, back, pelvis, shoulder, elbow, knee, ankle, foot and more. Physicians use the MRI scanner to examine one part of the body at a time.

Why is it so important to remove ALL metal objects before I enter the MRI scanning room?
You’ll need to remove all metal objects for safety reasons. The scanner is a giant magnet and will pull metallic objects into the scanner which can result in harm, and for Image quality reasons because they cause artifacts to appear on the MRI image.

Will there be a problem if I have had surgery in which metal has been implanted?
As a general rule, no. However, please be sure to inform your technologist of any prior surgeries before your exam. Patients with the following should NOT have an MRI:

  • Pacemakers
  • Difibulators
  • Certain aneurysm clips
  • Certain neurostimulators
  • Certain implants that are not MRI safe.

If I have a metal implant in my body, how will I know if it is MRI safe?
All implants that are placed by a surgeon have a manufacture name and model number. Some surgeons give their patients a card with the manufacture name and model number. The facility where the implant was placed should have record of what was implanted. Please inform the scheduler if you have any implants.

What does the MRI scanner look like?
The MRI scanner is wide open on both ends, and well lit and ventilated throughout. It also has a call button and two-way intercom system so that you can communicate with the technologist at all times.

May I have an MRI exam when I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
While an MRI scan has no known side effects, it is not recommended for pregnant women unless it is medically indicated. If you are breastfeeding and have contrast as part of your exam, please suspend nursing for 24 hours after the exam.

Why is the scanner so noisy?
The scanner works with strong magnetic fields. Inside the MRI machine there are parts called gradients. During a scan the gradients turn on and off so fast that they create a sound.

What will happen to me during the registration process?
You will be registered the day of your exam. This process takes about 15 minutes. You will be asked to provide your medical history in detail and sign consent forms. Before your MRI exam you will need to fill out an MRI screener to verify it is safe for you to have an MRI. The technologist performing your exam will thoroughly evaluate your screener, explain the procedure and answer all your questions.

What will my exam be like?
During your MRI exam, you will lie on a padded table, which will slide into the magnet that is open on both ends. It is important that you lie very still while the images are being taken. An MRI technologist will be right outside the exam room and will be able to see and hear you the entire time.  If you are uncomfortable, just say so and the technologist will be right in to assist you.

What will my exam feel like?
You will not feel anything. The scanner has no moving parts but does make a repetitive knocking noise similar to a drumbeat as it collects information. Music or earplugs are provided to reduce the noise. You may receive an injection to enhance the images.

Can I bring a friend or family member?
A friend or family member is welcome, but they must be screened for conditions that would prevent them from joining you in the scan room.

Can I bring CD’s, or listen to music?
Your choice of music is available through Satellite radio. The High Field scanner will interfere with your devices and therefore cannot be allowed into the scan room.

When will I know the results of my scan?
The images of your exam will be read by board certified radiologists. The report of your exam is available to your physician generally within 24 hours. Your physician will discuss your test findings with you.

What if I need to cancel?
If you need to cancel your exam, please call us at least one day in advance at 317.802.2420.

Are there any possible risks associated with MRI?
Extensive testing was done on MRI before it was approved for medical use. There have been no known adverse effects reported from the MRI imaging process itself.  At present, MRI scans are not routinely recommended for pregnant women in the first trimester.

What if I am claustrophobic?
OrthoIndy has large bore scanners that easily accommodate anxious and claustrophobic patients. Additionally, if you are severely claustrophobic, you should speak with your physician, we offer oral sedation at all three of our locations.  If you are scheduled to receive a sedative, you must be accompanied by an adult who is responsible for getting you to and from your appointment.

What should I bring to the exam?

  • Please remember to bring all insurance information and ID cards.
  • Wear comfortable clothing. You may be asked to change into a hospital gown, but frequently a sweat suit or similar garment without any metal (zippers, metal buttons or snaps) is sufficient.
  • If you were instructed by your physician to obtain previous X-rays and CT films, please remember to bring them with you.
  • Please leave all your valuables at home since you will not be able to wear most jewelry and watches in the scan room. The magnet can affect these items. Lockers are available for safekeeping, but we cannot take responsibility for lost or stolen items.
  • You will be given specific instructions, depending on the area to be examined. For example, for a head scan you may be asked to remove bridgework and non-permanent dentures.

What are my rights as a patient?
We are committed to maintaining the rights of patients and will assure patient confidentiality, dignity, privacy and the right for you to understand and consent to the test.

Can I receive copies of my MRI films and reports?
Upon your request, your films and reports are available for you to pick up. There may be a charge for medical records.  Please call us at 317.802.2459 to request copies.

What about payment for my MRI scan?
The charges for your scan are usually covered by Medicare, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Medicaid, various HMO’s and government employee programs, as well as by commercial insurance companies. As a courtesy, staff will verify your insurance coverage and inform you of any payment responsibility. For any balance, we accept MasterCard, Visa, personal checks or cash for payment. Please note that you will be billed separately by the radiologist for the read fee.

Schedule an Appointment Call OrthoIndy 317.802.2000

Get stories and News in your inbox

Subscribe to our weekly articles

Related Posts

More from OrthoIndy

CT/CAT Scan FAQ

CT/CAT Scan FAQ

What is a CT scan? CT, which stands for computed tomography (sometimes referred to as a “CAT” scan), is a fast, painless diagnostic tool physicians can use to see inside…

More

X-ray FAQ

X-ray FAQ

What is an X-ray? MRI and X-rays produce different types of images. An MRI shows better contrast between different kinds of soft tissue, while an X-ray clearly shows the contrast…

More

MRI FAQ

MRI FAQ

What is an MRI? An MRI creates high-quality images through the combination of a strong magnetic field and radio waves. An MRI can detect certain diseases much earlier than other…

More