Patients needing an MRI can expect friendly care from the team at GO Imaging. Your comfort and peace of mind are our priority when you undergo diagnostic imaging in our Houston or Humble facilities.
Open MRI available at our Humble location to accommodate claustrophobia and patients that have been unable to complete an MRI in a closed magnet.
What is MRI?
MRI, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging, is a non-invasive method of diagnostic testing that is used to obtain important health data. This imaging technology is based on radio frequency and a powerful magnetic field. MRI may be conducted to observe a variety of internal structures, ranging from bone to soft-tissue organs.
There is no ionizing radiation exposure during magnetic resonance imaging.
Reasons for an MRI Scan
MRI may be conducted to evaluate a number of structures:
- Brain and spine.
- Lymph nodes.
- Blood vessels.
- Reproductive and pelvic organs, such as the prostate and the uterus.
- Bodily organs such as the pancreas, liver, adrenal glands, and heart.
- Joints and bones.
MRI may be used to diagnose or monitor:
- Bone infection or tumors.
- Abnormalities in spinal disc or discs.
- Vasculitis (blood vessel inflammation) or malformed blood vessels.
- Crohn’s disease and other bowel inflammation.
- Abnormalities of the pancreas or bile ducts.
- Liver disease, cirrhosis.
- Pelvic, abdominal, or chest tumors.
How is an MRI Performed?
MRI uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to acquire data that will be sent to a computer for the processing of images. A patient lies on a table head or feet first depending on the body part being scanned. There is always some type of antenna or “coil” that goes around the body part being scanned. This area is then centered inside the scanner. Since a loud banging is associated with scanning, the technologist will offer earplug or headphones to the patient. Our staff can provide dressing gowns or “scrubs” if needed. Most scans last from 20 to 60 minutes. It is very important to remain still throughout the exam so that the exam time is not extended.
If necessary, contrast material will be administered intravenously. This may take place after an initial round of imaging without contrast. Few patients experience slight pain at the injection site or nausea in response to contrast material. Allergic reaction to this product is rare. The onset of itching or hives should be reported to the technologist.
The MRI technologist obtains images via a computer located outside the imaging room but maintains a clear line of sight to the table. When all images have been obtained, they are assessed for clarity, and the patient is released.
Open MRI vs Closed MRI
The closed MRI machine is the standard of practice that has been used for several years. This machine is designed in a tube form. During screening, the table on which the patient lies is moved into the magnetized tunnel for a short time. The enclosed shape of this scanner extends the options for observation of various areas of the body.Closed MRI scanners are advantageous for the strength, or power, of magnetic imaging. Magnetic power is measured in teslas, or T. Closed scanners range from .5 to 3.0 T, which means greater accuracy for structures that may be more difficult to observe.
The primary disadvantage of the closed MRI is the sense of claustrophobia that some patients may experience during their scan. Due to apprehension and anxiety, patients may find it difficult to lie completely still for the duration of screening. The use of a mild sedative may be discussed with the ordering physician.Open MRI scanners have two “panels” on which strong magnets are situated. One panel is positioned over the table, and one beneath. The sides of the scanner are open.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Open MRI
Many patients express a preference for open MRI screening due to the greater comfort they may feel with the open-sided design of the scanner. This situation may also be more comfortable for larger patients who prefer more physical space.
Disadvantages of open MRI include lower T strength, which decreases the options in imaging various parts of the body. For this reason, we may not be able to accommodate the desire for open MRI screening.
Preparing for an MRI
It is necessary to remove all jewelry or other metallic items. This includes body piercings, metal zippers or hairpins, hearing aids, and watches. It is best to dress in pull-on pants or shorts without zippers and leave all jewelry at home.
The technologist needs to know if any electronic medical devices or metal are in your body, such as metal pins or stents, metal joint prosthesis, or artificial heart valves. These may interfere with the imaging process or cause risk to the patient.
Does an MRI Hurt?
There is no pain associated with MRI imaging. Few patients describe a warming sensation in the area being imaged. Prominent thumping or tapping may be heard as the machine records images. To reduce auditory sensation and improve comfort, earplugs or other noise-reducing equipment may be used.
How is MRI different from CT Scan and X-ray?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Computed Tomography, and X-ray imaging are all valuable diagnostic tools to which there are more benefits than risk. Each obtains high-quality data using a particular form of energy. CT scans and X-rays work by highlighting internal structures with radiation, forming a 2-dimensional image. Magnetic Resonance records structures in 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional cross-section fragments, using a magnetic field and radio frequency.
Our specialized team of radiologists and X-ray, CT scan, and MRI technologists and support have the high-level education and training needed to supply referring physicians with pertinent information to facilitate the appropriate exam for each patient. Our radiologists are Board Certified, our technologists are registered, and our diagnosticians are accredited.
When will I get my results from my MRI?
When will I get my results from my MRI?
Images obtained through MRI screening must be interpreted by a radiologist. This typically takes place within a day or two, depending on the timing of the test itself. Once images have been analyzed, a report is sent to the ordering physician. It is the physician’s office that will contact you with your results.
• Intrauterine contraceptive device
• Cochlear implants
• Drug infusion pump
• Prosthetic devices including metal plates, pins, clips, etc.
MRI may not be suitable for patients with epilepsy or who are pregnant.
Finally, there is a minor risk for adverse reaction to contrast media.