MRI imaging is useful in diagnosing many soft-tissue injuries that can't be seen adequately by x-rays and other techniques. Getting your first MRI may be a bit daunting, but here are some things to know about the appointment before you go:
What Is MRI Imaging Looking For?
MRI imaging may be recommended by your doctor, orthopedic specialist, or neurological specialist to look for specific abnormalities. It is especially useful in doing soft tissue scans and looking for brain abnormalities that other scanning techniques don't catch.
How Does it Work?
The MRI machine uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create an image. The machine is able to calculate the structure of the body part based on how the magnetic field changes the movements of the sound waves. You don't need to know a lot of specific about the procedure, just that it's a safe procedure that is used in many everyday clinical settings.
Will I need an Injection?
Ask your doctor whether you will need to have a contrast dye injected to get your MRI completed. In many cases, the MRI can be done without it, but a contrast solution does help produce a clearer image.
How Long Will the Procedure Take?
MRI imaging takes about 25 minutes per body part. So, if you need multiple images taken, your appointment will be longer.
Where Are MRIs Done?
Your doctor will likely need to refer you to an MRI imaging specialist. You will need a referral for insurance reimbursement. There are many clinics who exclusively do MRI imaging, but you might also find an imaging department at your nearest hospital.
What Is the Experience Like?
And now, let's talk a little bit about the experience. MRI machines seem intimidating, but it helps to know a little bit about what to expect. Your technician will get your injured body part ready for x-ray; this means positioning it so that the machine has good access for imaging. You will go into the machine; often, you must lie still for the machine to get clear images. For neck imaging, you might need to avoid swallowing or coughing during the procedure. Thus, it's a good idea to go in with a relaxed state so that movement won't be tempting. The machine's radio waves can be loud, but you will have headphones to reduce the noise drastically. Although the machine's techniques can be challenging for new patients, your technician is there to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible during the MRI imaging procedure.
Contact a medical center like Kenai Peninsula Imaging Center, LLC for more information and assistance.