Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a relative new imaging study, which is also widely available in hospitals and outpatient radiology facilities. An MR unit is very similar in appearance to a CT or PET scanner, although there are some differences. MR does not use radiation, and it allows superior images of soft tissue structures, such as the neck.
What to expect:
- The MR technologists will give you all the
instructions for your MR scan. The total time to perform the MR scan excluding
waiting for your turn on the scanner and registration is approximately 30
- In brief, you will lie on a table, and the table will
be positioned within the MR scanner's opening. Then automatically, the machine
will move in order for images to be obtained of the entire area of interest.
During the images, you will hear a knocking sound, which is normal. There is
- After completion of your images, but before you
leave, a radiologist will usually review your images in order to determine if
any repeat or extra images are needed. However, do not be concerned if repeat
or extra images are performed. Repeat or extra views are frequently necessary,
and they do not necessarily mean that the radiologist has found something of
- After completion of the images, the MR technician will release you. As a rule, the radiologist does not review the results with you, but will send a report to your physician.
How do I prepare for the
- It is very important that before the procedure, the
patient informs the technicians as to whether there is any metal in your body.
Because of the powerful magnetic fields created by the MR, only certain kinds
of metal can be allowed in the machine. Be sure to tell your doctor and
technician about any metal you may have in your body. Only they can decide if
it is safe.
- You will be asked to change into a dressing gown and to remove all your jewelry, if you are wearing any. There are two kinds of MRs: contrast and non-contrast. If you are having a contrast MR you will be given the contrast material through an IV placed in your arm.
How is the procedure
You will be led into a room where the MR, a large machine that looks like a giant cube, is housed. You will be asked to lie down onto an open tube attached to the machine and you will be moved inside the cube. The technician will then leave the room, and the test will begin. All you have to do is stay as still as possible, so the pictures will be of the best quality.
Will it hurt?
The MR test does not hurt at all, but the machine makes a loud "clanging" noise while taking the pictures. This can be bothersome to some. Some patients, especially those who are claustrophobic, may be bothered by lying still for so long in an enclosed space. Open MRs may be options for these patients, as well as taking some medicine before the test in order to relax you. You should discuss these options with your doctor if he or she orders an MR for you.