MRI: What To Expect

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a very useful diagnostic tool in the medical industry. Strong magnetic fields and radio waves are used to view the body's internal organs. Here is what you need to know about this beneficial technology.

What Is An MRI?

An MRI is a huge machine that looks like it has a tunnel with a pull-out bed in the middle. It is made up of a device that produces radio waves, a large magnet, and a computer. The patient lays on the bed and is inserted into the tunnel, where the machine scan the body. The computer them produces a detailed cross-section of the organs and tissues it has scanned. Unlike an x-ray, no potentially harmful radiation is used for an MRI.

What Do Physicians Use Magnetic Resonance Imaging Machines For?

Because an MRI can show the inside of the entire human body in detail, it's an extremely useful tool to help doctors diagnose medical issues. The heart and its vessels can be seen. The female reproductive system can be seen and show any issues, such as endometriosis or problems that may be contributing to her infertility problems. Kidney, pancreas, liver, gallbladder and the intestines can be explored for problems with their functioning. Brain and spinal issues are detected. Problems with the joints can be further explored. Perhaps most importantly, an MRI scan will show any tumors, cysts, or abnormal growths located in the body. Any area of the body that a doctor needs to see in more detail, an MRI can help.

What Happens During An MRI Scan?

The patient goes to the hospital or sometimes, a radiology center that performs MRIs. They are given a hospital gown to change into, and asked to remove any metal jewelry or undergarments that might have metal on them, such as a bra. The nurse will help you onto the bed, and you will be provided with a pillow and blanket to ensure you are comfortable. Most facilities offer a pair of headphones, so the patient can listen to music during the procedure. In rare cases, if someone is extremely claustrophobic, they may be given a mild sedative 15 minutes before the procedure to help with the anxiety, but this isn't usually necessary. Depend on the area to be scanned, you may also be given an IV so that a contrast dye can be used to aid in a more detailed image. The machine will perform the scan, and that's it.

Contact a provider, like DirectImaging , for more help.