Many patients have questions before undergoing an MRI exam.
Here are answers to the most common questions.
MRI is short for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. MRI is an advanced technology that lets your doctor see internal organs, blood vessels, muscles, joints, tumors, areas of infection, and is useful in evaluation of back pain, knee pain, shoulder pain and chronic pain – with unexcelled clarity without the use of x-rays, surgery, or pain. MRI is very safe; in fact, it makes use of natural forces and has no known harmful effects. It’s important to know that MRI will not expose you to any harmful radiation.
MRI can provide very early detection of many conditions, so treatment can be more effective, accurate and rapid. The excellent quality of MRI images can also provide the best possible information if surgery is required. If there is an abnormality, MRI can show exactly where it is, its size and what tissues are involved.
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.
Wait times are typically 1-2 weeks for an appointment. Call today for availability!
Yes, all MMRI scans require a referral from your healthcare provider.
MRI allows doctors to see images of your internal organs and structures in great detail and from many angles. This gives them more information and more quickly than other tests and exploratory surgeries.
In most cases, you can just stick with your normal, everyday routine – no special preparation is needed. You can eat and drink your usual diet, work, or play sports, and take any prescription medications you need. However, there may be some circumstances in which you’ll be given specific instructions to follow before the exam. These will be given to you by your doctor, or by our clinic staff at the time the MRI is scheduled.
When you arrive for your exam, you will be asked to change into a gown or scrubs that we will provide for your comfort and convenience during the examination.
Upon being checked in, a technologist will go over a safety questionnaire with you to determine whether you are a safe candidate for MRI imaging and injection (if required).
Once you arrive, you will be asked to change into a gown, unless the joint is easily accessible, such as in your ankles and hands.
Before the start of your exam, you will fill out a short questionnaire and provide written consent for your procedure. You will be able to ask our technologists any questions you may have.
Yes, although they will have to wait in a waiting room while the scan is being done. While you’re having your scan, you can communicate with the technologist at any time through an intercom system.
We will provide you with ear protection to soften the noise of the MRI machine as well as any special equipment needed to help us obtain the best possible images.
You will then lie on the scanning table and your head will be centred into the magnetic tunnel. There are many varieties of MRI exams. Depending upon the area being scanned, the setup of the room, and your position may be different.
The total exam takes approximately 45 to 60 minutes. During this time the technologist can hear and see you. All MRI exams require you to be very still in order to take good images.
Some patients may find the MRI machine makes them feel claustrophobic, especially during a brain MRI. If you think you might have a hard time with the exam, please talk to your doctor. They may prescribe a mild sedative to help you relax during the scan.
The results of your MRI will be analyzed by our on-site radiologist and a detailed report sent to your doctor as soon as possible.
If necessary, you may be injected with a solution called a contrast agent or “dye”. This allows the radiologist to see the image more clearly. MRI contrast agents typically have few or no side effects, and the injection likely will just feel like a slight pinch. You may be asked to give your consent to this injection, at which time a more detailed explanation about the contrast agent will be given to you by our MRI technologist.
Depending upon the study, a contrast material (gadolinium) may be injected through an IV. This material will enhance certain tissues and blood vessels, while aiding diagnosis.
Before the exam, please let the technologist know if you’ve experienced allergies to contrast in the past. If you are allergic to contrast, your doctor will discuss your options before the procedure.
If contrast is needed, you will be asked to lie on a table and the area to be injected will be exposed and cleaned with an aseptic. The skin may be numbed with a local anesthetic and contrast may be injected into the joint to confirm needle placement. A technologist will insert an IV line into a vein in your hand or arm and inject the contrast agent. You may feel a cooling sensation.
Your doctor will use either fluoroscopy (a type of X-ray) or ultrasound to help view the area.
The injection procedure takes approximately 10 minutes.
You will be awake during the procedure and may ask questions at any point.
During the injection, you may experience mild to moderate discomfort in the area of the injection.
No. Since MRI is “non-invasive”, the exam is painless and not harmful.
You just lie back, relax and stay as still as possible until the technologist has obtained all the necessary angles to produce an image of the area of interest.
You have to remain as still as possible. Just like a regular photograph, moving may result in a ‘blurred’ image. The technologist will let you know when you can move.
You will be able to communicate with the technologist with a call-bell and over an intercom throughout the exam. A set of pictures is being taken so it is very important that you hold still during the entire time to ensure the images turn out clearly. We take every measure to ensure that you are comfortable throughout the exam. Very occasionally, patients may feel claustrophobic in the MRI scanner. Some of these people may require a light sedative during the examination which we will give to you in the form of a small tablet taken by mouth. In this case, you will not be able to operate your motor vehicle after the exam and will require a ride home.
Yes, although MRI technology is very safe for a large number of people. However, some people with metal implants such as pacemakers and aneurysm clips cannot be scanned this is because the MRI machine uses a strong magnetic field, which will move objects made with iron or steel. You will be required to provide a health history. Our staff will determine if a particular metal implant is acceptable for the MRI environment.
Let our MRI technologist know if you have:
Also, if you’re pregnant, let the technologist know.
Even metal objects not made of iron or steel can interfere with the exam – so don’t bring any of the following into the examination room (a secure place to store your valuables will be provided):
Magnetic waves can also erase the code on bank cards and credit cards, so don’t bring your credit or bank cards into the MRI examination room. They should be stored in the secure locker we provide to you.
Very few people experience anxiety when having their MRI, but we are very sensitive to those who are uncomfortable within small spaces. If you have experienced anxiety due to small spaces before, please let the technologists know prior to your appointment and they will be happy to help you through it.
You’ll hear loud knocking noises during your scan. Headphones with music are provided to protect your hearing. The technologist will communicate to you through the headphones and can also hear you if you have any questions or concerns during the exam. You will also be given an emergency call bell to stop the exam, if needed.
A typical MRI exam includes about 30 to 45 minutes of scan time. Total time from intake to completion is about an hour.
Your referring physician will receive a faxed report within 5 to 10 business days of your exam. Your physician may be able to access the images “on line” via the internet immediately after your exam. You can make an appointment with your referring physician to go over your results.
MRI may be used in pregnant women if other nonionizing forms of diagnostic imaging are inadequate or if the examination provides important information that would otherwise require exposure to ionizing radiation (e.g., fluoroscopy, CT, etc.). To date, there has been no indication that the use of clinical MR imaging during pregnancy has produced deleterious effects. This policy has been adopted by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and is considered the “standard of care” with respect to the use of MR procedures in pregnant patients. This information applies to MR systems operating up to and including 3-tesla. This applies to all stages of pregnancy and no special consideration is recommended for first, versus and other trimester in pregnancy.
There is no evidence to suggest that oral ingestion by an infant of the tiny amount of gadolinium contrast agent excreted into breast milk would cause toxic effects. Therefore, the available data suggest that it is safe for the mother and infant to continue breast-feeding after receiving such an agent. However, if the mother remains concerned about any potential ill effects, she should be given the opportunity to make an informed decision as to whether to continue or temporarily abstain from breast-feeding after receiving a gadolinium contrast agent. If the mother so desires, she may abstain from breast-feeding for 24 hours with active expression and discarding of breast milk from both breasts during that period. In anticipation of this, she may wish to use a breast pump to obtain milk before the contrast study to feed the infant during the 24-hour period following the examination.
MMRI offers a wide-bore MRI scanner for a more comfortable imaging experience. This is especially helpful for larger patients or patients prone to anxiety in tight spaces. The scanner bore measures 70cm. Patients whose weight exceeds 580 lbs may be unable to have a scan.
They can provide useful additional information for the Radiologist for comparison purposes when they are interpreting your MRI scan.
Yes. All of our staff members are bound to confidentiality agreements and follow strict codes of professional conduct.
The costs of an MRI scan at a private clinic are not usually covered by the New Brunswick Medicare system. At present, most extended health plans will not cover these costs. Please check your plan for details. Some employers, disability insurers and third party payers may cover the costs of the MRI examination for you. In addition, costs associated with MRI exams may be eligible for the Medical Expense Tax Credit offered by the Canada Revenue Agency.
Pricing may vary depending on the exact body region/area of imaging required. We will be able to provide you with a cost once we review the requirements. Our clinic staff will explain the cost at the time of booking your appointment.
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