Diagnostic Offered At
- Imaging & Radiology at Long Beach Medical Center
- Imaging & Radiology at Orange Coast Medical Center
- Imaging & Radiology at Saddleback Medical Center
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic test that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to provide pictures of organs and structures inside the body. MRI provides information that, in many cases, cannot be obtained from an X–ray, ultrasound or CT scan.
MemorialCare's MRI systems offer fast exams resulting in outstanding image quality for clearer diagnosis and a patient–friendly design. The MRI systems deliver unsurpassed diagnostic detail, providing comprehensive exams—even for hard–to–scan patients.
MRI tests and other studies can be performed without stopping to reposition the patient or change parts on the machine, creating a pleasant patient experience.
Performing a typical MRI study in 30 minutes or less, this state–of–the–art scanner produces incredibly precise images to perform a wide array of clinical examinations.
Types of MRI
Different types of MRI are offered at specific imaging center locations, some include:
- Angiography (MRA) – Vascular anatomy visualized
- Breast MRI
- Cardiac MRI
- MRCP – MRI of hepatobiliary and pancreatic system
- Neurology/Central Nervous System
- Why is an MRI test important?
- Will an MRI hurt?
- Will I feel anything?
- Does the machine use X-rays?
- Will I fit?
- Will my head stick out of the machine?
- Will I be claustrophobic?
- Will I be alone?
- Does the machine make a lot of noise?
- Do I have to hold still the whole time? How long will the exam take?
- Are there things that will prevent me from being scanned?
Why is an MRI test important?
MRI allows doctors to see images of your internal organs and structures in great detail and from multiple planes. This gives them information quickly and in many cases more accurately than tests used in the past or exploratory surgeries.
Will an MRI hurt?
No. Since MRI is "non-invasive," the exam is painless. However, your doctor may utilize a contrast agent to better visualize a part of your anatomy. If this is the case, you may receive a simple injection during the exam.
Will I feel anything?
No, but you will hear a loud knocking or buzzing sound at various intervals throughout your exam. Other than that, you won't feel a thing. Ear plugs are available to you for your exam and their use will not prevent you from hearing the technologist if he or she speaks to you during the exam.
Does the machine use X-rays?
No. MRI uses a powerful magnet in conjunction with radio-frequency waves to generate images of your internal organs and structures. There is no ionizing (X-Ray) radiation.
Will I fit?
There are very few patients who cannot be comfortably accommodated for an MRI exam. Our equipment has one of the largest openings in the industry at nearly two feet wide.
Will my head stick out of the machine?
That will depend on your height and what part of your body is being scanned. The part that is being imaged needs to be in the middle of the magnet. For example, if your ankle is being scanned, your head will be outside of the MRI scanner. If it is your head, neck, or chest being scanned, your head will be inside of the scanner. The new Espree system offers one of the largest and shortest bores in the market helping the claustrophobic patient. With this larger bore design we have the opportunity to keep the patient’s head out of the magnet 60% of the time with certain examinations.
Will I be claustrophobic?
Most people do not experience such a reaction. However, if you have had claustrophobic reactions to enclosed spaces before, you should let the technologist know. Even if you are uncomfortable in small spaces, staff members can help you comfortably complete the study. The Expree system is the closest thing to an Open MRI, offering a 1.5 Tesla high field strength magnet; something Open MRI architecture cannot offer.
Will I be alone?
You will be in contact with a technologist at all times. Even when he or she is not in the MRI room, you will be able to talk to him or her by intercom. The technologist is always able to see you through a large patient viewing window. In some cases a friend or family member may stay in the scan room with you during your exam, eligibility can be determined during the screening. Please consult the MemorialCare Imaging Center for more information.
Does the machine make a lot of noise?
The magnet makes a knocking sound as images are being taken. In between scans the machine is quiet. Ear plugs are available to you for your exam and their use will not prevent you from hearing the technologist if he or she speaks to you during the exam.
Do I have to hold still the whole time? How long will the exam take?
You do have to remain as still as possible, but the time passes quickly. With new MRI scanners software allows for faster exam acquisition times, reducing the amount of time needed to take the scan. Moving during the procedure may require repeating parts of the exam so it is best to try to remain as still as possible for the best exam results. The amount of time needed for the exam is dependant on what is being studied. A typical exam lasts between 30 and 60 minutes. You should always allow extra time in case the exam lasts longer than expected.
Are there things that will prevent me from being scanned?
Some patients with metal implants cannot be safely scanned in the MRI environment. People with pacemakers, aneurysm clips (especially in the brain), and neurostimulators generally cannot be scanned. Anyone with surgical pins, shrapnel, plates or other types of metal implants should notify the technologist. You will be required to provide a health history when you arrive for your exam that explains any metallic implants you may have. A doctor will determine if a particular metal implant is approved to be in an MRI environment.