MRI Scans offered from NWR

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a method used by physicians to look inside the body.
Incorporating an advanced technology, MRI produces images of the anatomy without the use of radiation, as in x-ray and CT scans.  MRI images are formed by computer processing signals that are emitted by body tissue.  These signals are generated using a safe magnetic field in combination with radio waves of a specific frequency, similar to what is used in home and car radios.

MRI is a safe, painless and noninvasive exam.  There are no preparations required for this exam.  Some patients even fall asleep during their exam.  Used for all parts of the body, MRI results in no known side or after effects.

MRI can help provide a quick and accurate diagnosis for your physician.  In some situations, it can reduce the need for exploratory surgery and other diagnostic procedures which might have associated risks.

The procedure is effective in the clinical evaluation of the following conditions:  brain disorders, traumatic injuries, eye abnormalities, spine diseases, tumor detection, liver and other abdominal diseases, knee and shoulder injuries, musculoskeletal disorders, facial/neck abnormalities, infection, cardiac malformations, and blood flow/vessel disorders.

Each weekend, during football season, injuries occur which require athletes to undergo an MRI scan shortly afterward.  An MRI scan can accurately determine whether an athlete with knee trauma, for instance, has injured the menisci, ligaments and/or bone.  In many cases, an MRI will prevent the need for arthroscopic surgery.  It will also provide an orthopedic surgeon with the information needed to recommend appropriate therapy.

Certain cases of epilepsy do not respond to medical therapy.  Patients often have a structural abnormality in the brain.  An MRI can accurately locate the abnormality, so a neurosurgeon can treat it effectively.  Two-thirds of these patients’ seizures can then be successfully controlled with medication.

In 70 percent of cases, cancer affecting the bones of the spine is caused by the spread of a tumor from another site.  The tumor can grow large enough to involve the spinal cord and cause paralysis.  To diagnose this, an MRI can detect tumor involvement.

Today, physicians commonly order MRI exams to evaluate the brain, spine, joints (especially the knee) and soft tissues.  Many other body parts can be evaluated with MRI as well.

Open MRI

If you are claustrophobic, schedule your MRI at 10603 N. Meridian Street.  Open MRI markedly reduces the incidence of significant claustrophobia and need for sedatives.  Open MRI at NWR offers a large gantry, allowing larger patients access to this modality, which offers diagnostic accuracy in many disorders.  Our scanning tables are rated for higher weight support.

Mid Strength MRI

Less than one percent of patients experience significant claustrophobia in mid strength open MRI at our  MRI Imaging Centers.

Very few patients undergoing an MRI exam experience claustrophobia in mid strength conventional MRI at our imaging centers.  Most of these patients can undergo the procedure after receiving sedating drugs.  Mid strength conventional MRI offers premium image quality for physicians as well as a larger couch and opening for patient comfort.

What to Expect

Please feel free to ask any questions regarding a MRI study.  We will ask you to read and complete a patient information form.  Please let us know if you have any metal objects, a heart pacemaker or other electronic medical aid in your body, or if you are pregnant.

You will then be asked to change into a gown.  Because of the magnetic field, you will be required to leave the following items outside the scan room:  coins, inexpensive jewelry, watches, glasses, credit cards, keys, hair pins and other metallic objects.  Once all metal objects have been removed, the MRI technologist will have you lie down on a special imaging table. Depending upon what type of MRI your doctor has ordered, you may have to place your head in a padded cradle or on a pillow. The technologist will then slide the table into the donut-shaped portion of the scanner. The technologist will make sure that you are comfortable and then go to the control panel that is just outside the room.  The technologist will be able to watch you, and even talk to you, during the MRI scan.

To obtain clear images, we ask that you hold very still and most of all, relax!  In some cases, you will be asked to hold your breath for up to 30 seconds. Any movement during the procedure could blur the images, even moving your jaw to talk ~ especially for a head or spine scan.

When the machine is taking pictures, you will hear a repeating, loud, thumping noise coming from the scanner. You will be offered earplugs to help you with this. You should try to breathe quietly and normally, while trying to refrain from coughing and moving. When the thumping noise stops, it does not mean that the scan is completed; therefore you must still maintain your position.

The procedure may be repeated several times, but the length of the exam ordinarily takes approximately 45 minutes to complete, depending upon the type of exam requested.

Important Information About MRI Scans

MRI scans are non-invasive and safe. Magnetic Resonance scanning works with a strong magnet and radio waves. Please tell us if any of the following apply to you OR the person accompanying you into the exam room:

  • Aneurysm clip(s)
  • Implanted cardioverter defibrillator
  • Electronic implant or device
  • Magnetically-activated implant(s)/device
  • Cardiac pacemaker
  • Neurostimulation system
  • Spinal cord stimulator
  • Cochlear implant
  • Hearing aid(s)
  • Insulin or infusion pump
  • Implanted drug infusion device
  • Prosthesis or implant
  • Artificial / Prosthetic limb
  • Metallic fragment(s) or foreign body
  • External or internal metallic objects

You may be asked to remove one or more of these items BEFORE ENTERING the MRI scan room.

How Do I Get My Results?

After your exam is finished, the images are studied by a board certified Northwest Radiology Network radiologist. A report will be sent to your referring physician. Your physician will then be able to discuss the results with you. The MRI technologist will not be the person to give the results of your MRI scan ~ this can only be obtained from your referring physician.

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