Should I get an MRI?
When you have an injury or a suspected illness, imaging tests, such as an MRI, can provide more detailed information on the affected area. This information helps healthcare providers make a more accurate diagnosis while also determining how severe an injury or illness is. An MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, test involves the use of radio waves and magnetism to form detailed images.
Reasons to Need an MRI
You might need an MRI if your doctor suspects that you have a certain medical condition. Having this imaging test done provides a way for your doctor to make an accurate diagnosis, so that you can receive proper treatment. In some cases, your doctor might use the results of an MRI to determine if you need any other tests done.
If you have an injury, an MRI provides information on the extent of the damage. Your doctor uses these images to find out how serious your injury is and whether any other surrounding areas have been damaged. If you have already been diagnosed with a chronic condition, your doctor might order an MRI to check on it. The images your doctor receives can show how much the condition has advanced, which can determine the type of care you need.
Specific conditions that you might need an MRI for include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Brain conditions, such as aneurysm and stroke
- Heart problems, such as heart attacks
- Blood vessel problems, such as blockages
- Spinal disc problems
- Soft tissue problems, such as ligament tears
- Tumors or other growths on organs
What to Expect During an MRI
When you have an MRI done, you should not expect to feel any discomfort during this scan. You might feel uncomfortable about having to stay as still as possible or having to be in a confined space, though. You might be given earplugs to wear while the scan is being done, since the machine can be loud at times. During the MRI, you will be lying down on an exam bed that will move around in order to enter and exit the scanning area.
If you feel uncomfortable during the MRI, you will be able to let a technologist or radiologist know. Keep in mind that some MRI scanning areas are wider than others, which lowers the risk of feeling claustrophobic. MRIs do not involve the use of any radiation, so you do not need to be worried about exposure.
How to Prepare for an MRI
When you are scheduled to have an MRI done, you will need to follow all guidelines you are given in terms of what to avoid beforehand. For example, you might need to avoid eating or drinking for a specified amount of time before your MRI. In some cases, you might receive an injection that contains contrast material before your MRI. This helps provide more accurate images.
Since an MRI involves the use of magnetism, you will be asked to leave items at home that could interfere with this imaging test or be heavily damaged. These items typically include jewelry, credit cards and watches. You will also need to remove eyeglasses, hairpins and other metallic items you might have on you. If you are worried about being in an enclosed space, you should let the radiologist know beforehand. You might be able to take a mild sedative to help you stay calm and relaxed during your MRI.
If you’re in need of an MRI, please contact Neighborhood Radiology Services to make an appointment. We offer state-of-the-art MRI scanning with a High-field Open MRI scanner.