FAQ’s About An MRI
MRI Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
How are images used?
A radiologist interprets the images and identifies conditions that indicate disease, deterioration, and/or buildup of fluids. These images are extremely clear and precise. The images help a physician or medical specialists treat a patient.
What does it feel like?
A MRI scan is painless. A patient feels no sensations. However, you will hear the hum of the machine and soft drum-like sounds when the systems gradients are turned on and off.
Is MRI safe?
Yes, the strength and frequency of radio waves used in MRI has no known harmful effects.
Why do I have to wait for the results?
The typical MRI examination results in approximately 50-150 images that must be processed and carefully reviewed by our board certified radiologist. At Paradigm Imaging, results are usually available within a 12 to 24 hour period. A typed report will be faxed to your physician, who will then discuss the finding with you.
What is the test like?
You will lie down on the scanner table and the technologist will help position you on the table. When the machine starts to work, you will hear some loud knocking sounds. These sounds are normal and occur whenever the MRI pictures are being taken. It is important that you hold still while the machine is running. Otherwise, the pictures will be blurry and may have to be repeated.
Is there any preparation needed?
- Unless otherwise instructed by your physician, you may eat or drink before your exam and take normal medication.
- Please leave jewelry and unnecessary valuables at home. Avoid make-up, particularly eye make-up.
- Be sure to tell the technologist if you are pregnant.
- Inform the technologist of any metallic substance on or in your body prior to the exam, such as infusion pumps, pacemakers, or metal plates/pins.
Is there anything that I must do to prepare for my MRI scan?
In most cases, you may follow your normal routine prior to your scan. You can eat and drink as usual and take any prescription medications you need. If there are any special preparations, these will be given to you by your doctor. Watches, metal objects in pockets, keys, beepers, cellular phones, hair pins, credit cards with magnetic strips, or any other metallic objects will not be permitted in MRI room.
Will I feel anything during the scan?
The MRI scan is completely painless and comfortable. Occasionally, an injection of a solution called contrast material may need to be used to better visualize the area of interest as specified by your physician. The contrast material used during an MRI scan typically has few or no side effects.
Is there any dye used?
During an MRI examination, there may be a need for contrast to be administered to the patient. The material injected is the element, Gadolinium. Some people call this contrast and other x-ray contrasts “dyes”. They are not dyes at all, they are different chemical components that react with magnetism in a certain way where certain anatomy or tissues can be viewed. In MRI, the Gadolinium reacts to the magnetism and radio waves allowing certain diseases, surgical scar and anatomy to become visible. A very small butterfly needle is used to inject in the bend of the arm.
Are there any side effects to the contrast?
As with any prescribed and/or over the counter medication, there is always a chance that a patient could possibly have some type of reaction. It is rare for patients to experience any reaction to MRI contrast, but it possible to experience some of the following: reddening around injection sight, itching around injection sight, warm flush feeling (temporary), or nausea. In the unlikely event of a more severe reaction, we are equipped to handle contrast reactions. Contrast injections are not available in the evening and/or weekends.
What if I have claustrophobia?
Medical journals report that over 20% of patients experience claustrophobia during MRI’s and another 35% experience severe anxiety. Our MRI system is equip with a special audio system allowing patients to enjoy their own music during the scan. However, in some patients medication is still needed for anxiety and/or pain. Please consult with your referring physician about obtaining a prescription for any needed medications. We do not administer any type of medication at Paradigm Imaging.
Can I have an MRI if I have metal in or on my body?
Patients with pacemakers, certain ear implants, shrapnel near the heart, and brain aneurysm clips cannot be examined. Our technologists will carefully assess your situation and prepare you for your procedure. If you have been given a card indicating the type of implant you have, please bring it with you for the radiologist and technologist to review.
Are there any reasons why I could not have the scan done?
Because of the potential harmful effects associated with all metallic objects in a magnetic field, you should check with your physician or MRI technologist if you have had any brain, ear, eye, or other surgeries or any of the following:
- Metal implants
- Aneurysm clips
- Surgical staples or clips
- Neuro-stimulator (Tens-unit)
- Implanted drug infusion devices
- Foreign metal objects in the eye
- Shrapnel or bullet wounds
- Permanent cosmetics or tattoos
- Dentures/teeth with magnetic keepers
- Other implants that involve magnets
- Medication patch (i.e., transdermal patch) that contains metal foil
- If you are pregnant, be sure to notify your physician
What if I am a welder?
If you are currently working as a welder or have in the past, you may need a skull X-ray to check for any possible metal shavings that may be in your eyes. If there is any possibility that you may have any type of metal in your eyes, please notify us immediately. We must have a radiologist approve your X-ray prior to bringing you into the MRI scan room.
Important Note: If you are pregnant or think that you could be pregnant, you must notify your physician and the MRI technologist at the MRI center prior to having the MRI procedure.