Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a highly advanced medical imaging technique used to produce clear pictures of the body. The Everett Clinic’s MRI features a unique, large bore, which helps with claustrophobia. The system has spacious, well-lit openings, an attractive design and soft colors to help you relax.
MRI provides an excellent way to diagnose diseases of the:
- Blood vessels
What is the exam like?
You will be asked to lie down on a cushioned table. A device called a “coil” will be placed near the area to be examined. You will hear a loud “knocking” sound for minutes at a time. Hearing protection will be provided. Your job is to relax and lie as still as possible because movement can blur the picture.
An MRI exam usually takes 30 minutes. It consists of several image sessions lasting one to four minutes each.
How does it work?
MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves (instead of X-rays) to display many parts of the body. The body is made up of millions of atoms, which line up when placed in a magnetic field. By using radio waves to manipulate the magnetic position of these atoms, energy is released and can be picked up by a powerful antenna and sent to a computer. The computer performs millions of calculations and the end result is a black and white image for diagnosis.
How to prepare for an MRI exam
- If you are claustrophobic, let your physician know so you can be prescribed medication. If you are taking medication, have a driver accompany you to your MRI. We cannot allow you to drive yourself home.
- Notify your doctor or the technologist if you are pregnant or have a cardiac pacemaker, aneurysm clips, ear implants or neurostimulators.
- Remove your eyeglasses, jewelry, dentures, hearing aids and any other metallic objects.
- Eat normally and take your usual medications unless your doctor gives you other instructions. For abdominal MRI you must not eat or drink six hours before your exam.
- Bring any pertinent X-rays, CT scans or previous MRI exams that were performed outside the Everett area.
- You will be asked to wear a gown and lock any valuables in a provided area.
Is there any risk?
MRI is very safe. There are no health risks associated with the magnetic field radio waves used by the machine. However, some special circumstances may limit the use of the magnetic field.