Still Have Questions?

Read our most frequently asked questions!

What is an MRI?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is technology which allows your doctor to have the clearest possible look at your internal anatomy. MRI does not use x-rays or radiation. MRI uses powerful magnetic field and radio waves to provide computerized images, which appear as “slices” of the anatomy, for the radiologist to determine the differences between healthy and abnormal tissue. Your doctor will use this information to help determine the course of your treatment.

How Does an MRI work?

Your body is composed of atoms. Water or Hydrogen atoms make up 95% of the human body. Usually the hydrogen atoms within the body spin at random. When you have an MRI, you are placed in a strong magnetic field that is up to 8,000 times stronger than that of the earth, which causes these atoms to realign and spin all in the same direction. Like CT, MRI acquires images that are a “slice” of anatomy. Using the magnetic fields and radio waves, remarkably detailed cross-sectional images of the body can be obtained. A computer processes these images to produce detailed pictures of the anatomy.

What Can I Expect During an MRI Examination?

What Can I Expect During an MRI Examination? A licensed technologist will explain the MRI procedure to you when you arrive. You will be asked to remove and store any objects containing metal so that there is no interference with the magnet. These include coins, watches, and other jewelry, hair clips, keys, credit cards, and dentures. Depending on the part of the body to be scanned, you may be asked to change into a gown. You will be asked to lie flat on a padded table.

Some patients, but not all, need an injection of contrast as part of the MRI examination. If your doctor decides that contrast is necessary, a pharmaceutical agent called “Gadolinium” is administered. The Gadolinium contrast is used to make specific organs, blood vessels, or tissue stand out. This helps highlight the structures to better assess for disease or injury. The referring doctor provides Precise MRI with information about each patient’s specific medical condition. The decision to use, or not use an injection of contrast is on a case by case basis, based on all the information, and the body part being examined.

If Gadolinium is necessary, a small needle is inserted into the vein in the arm or hand, and removed immediately after the injection. As with any medication, there is a very slight chance of an allergic reaction. Side effects are very uncommon with Gadolinium.

During the exam you may hear a tapping noise. This is normal and is created when some of the parts of the magnet (gradient coils) are turned on and off, very rapidly, to measure the signal that comes from the patient’s body. The knocking may be loud enough to require ear plugs or through head phones which we provide. During the examination, you will be able to listen to music through the headphones, and to communicate with the technologist at all times via intercom.

It is very important not to move when you are in the magnet, especially while you hear the knocking noise. It is particularly important that you not move the body part being imaged during the study. If you need to stretch a muscle, you may do so in between image acquisition, when the knocking noise has stopped.
You may talk to the technologist, via intercom, at any time during the study. It’s best to talk, however, in between the pictures, to minimize any motion.

How Long Will My MRI Examination Take?

We offer an array of examinations. Depending on the type of exam you receive, the length of the procedure will typically be between 20-40 minutes. The technologist will discuss the specifics of your exam, prior to your test.

What if I am Claustrophobic?

If you need to have an MRI but are claustrophobic or have trouble lying still, we offer conscious sedation, which can help you relax during the MRI exam.

Special preparation is required for sedation:
• For oral sedation (when prescribed by your doctor), you should not eat or drink four hours prior to the exam.
• For conscious sedation, you should not eat or drink six hours prior to the exam and you should arrive 30 minutes prior to your scheduled exam time.

For both types of sedation, you must have a driver to take you home after the sedation. If you do not have a driver, we can arrange one for you.

How Safe is MRI?

Since MRI does not use radiation there are no apparent risk. If you are pregnant or nursing, you should consult with your doctor before having an MRI scan. MRI uses a very strong magnet that can pull on metallic objects. For safety reasons, the MRI staff must determine if you have metal in your body. Some patients may have small pieces of metal in their eyes, metallic implants, prosthetic devices that contain metal, surgical clips, certain types of stents, or other implanted devices that could be sensitive to the magnetic field. Occasionally, your doctor may order an x-ray to screen for metallic objects prior to your MRI exam. Our MRI technologists are certified and our Radiologist have extensive experience in MRI.

Do MRI have side effects?

There are no known harmful effects from the strong magnetic field used for MRI. But the magnet is very powerful. The magnet may affect pacemakers, artificial limbs, and other medical devices that contain iron. … If metal is found, the MRI will not be done.

Am I a Candidate for a MRI?

Almost everyone can have an MRI with complete safety. The technologist will ask certain questions about your medical history to ensure the possible results from your exam. Patients with the following conditions are not candidates for MRI:

• Patients with cardiac pacemakers, neuro-stimulators or other electrical devices in their bodies.
• Metal fragments in one or both eyes.
• Tens unit.
• Patients with cerebral aneurysm clips are sometimes excluded. Please check with our staff if you have any questions.
• Pregnant women are generally not recommended for MRI scans. Be sure to inform your doctor and our staff if you are pregnant.

Can I eat and drink before an MRI?

On the day of your MRI scan, you should be able to eat, drink and take any medication as usual, unless advised otherwise. In some cases, you may be asked not to eat or drink anything for up to four hours before the scan, and sometimes you may be asked to drink a fairly large amount of water beforehand.

Can I Have MRI If I Am Pregnant?

MRI is considered a safe test, and there is no ionizing radiation used; however, conclusive evidence showing how safe MRI is for pregnant women and the fetus is not yet available. MRI is generally not performed during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy (first trimester).

Generally, we do not perform MRI on pregnant women, unless there is a strong medical indication. Prior to the test, you may want to discuss this with your obstetrician, and the Radiologist. Depending on the condition, other tests, including ultrasound, may be available to diagnose a medical condition.

If I Am Nursing An Infant And Have Had An MRI With Contrast, Can I Resume Nursing After The Exam?

We recommend that patients wait two days after receiving the Gadolinium injection, before resuming breast feeding. Patients may wish to pump breast milk prior to the exam, and store it for use during this 1 day period. You may wish to discuss this further with your doctor, or the Radiologist.

Generally, we do not perform MRI on pregnant women, unless there is a strong medical indication. Prior to the test, you may want to discuss this with your obstetrician, and the Radiologist. Depending on the condition, other tests, including ultrasound, may be available to diagnose a medical condition.

Do I Need A Referral (Prescription) To Have My MRI Examination?

Yes, your doctor must provide a referral (prescription) in order for you to receive an examination. In addition, some insurance carriers require precertification. As a courtesy, our staff can let your doctor’s office know if a precertification is required by your insurance, or you may discuss this with your doctor and your insurance company prior to your test.

When Will I Know The Results Of My Examination?

A detailed typed report of the procedure and findings will be sent promptly to your physician within 2 business days. Your doctor will then call you to discuss the results. Urgent results are telephoned immediately to your physician.

How long are my films, reports and images (medical records) kept on file?

Precise MRI medical record retention policy complies with Federal Regulations governing medical records that are stored in our PACs (Picture Archival Computer System). Retention varies depending on your age and the type of study preformed. In general, we retain adult medical records for seven years after the date of service. Medical records of patients under the age of eighteen are retained for a minimum of seven years, or one year past the age of eighteen.

How can I request a copy of my films or images?

We provide the report to your doctor. For copy of film and or images on CD, please contact the medical records department at the facility where your exam was performed.

How soon can I book an appointment with Precise MRI of Michigan? Can I fit my appointment into my work schedule?

Precise MRI is open for scheduling Monday thru Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Our scanning days are every Tuesday and Wednesday from 8:00am to 12:00am. In many cases, we can schedule you the day you call for an appointment. Our goal is to schedule your appointment at the best possible time for you.

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