Magnetic Resonance Imaging

 

Using state-of-the-art technology, MRI creates anatomical images without the use of radiation showing many different body angles and planes. This enables our physicians to quickly and precisely diagnose a wide variety of conditions. It uses radio-waves and magnetic fields to produce clear and detailed images of nearly all the organs in the body. It is a painless and extremely safe procedure because no radiation is used.

Why is it use?

MRI especially excels in showing bone images and soft tissue organ abnormalities. MRI can “look inside” a body to identify and locate abnormalities, producing images that can be detect tumors, infection, cancer, musculoskeletal injury and male and female reproductive systems.

What can I expect?

Most patients are comfortable and relaxed during the procedure. Some even fall asleep. People with claustrophobia may feel uncomfortable in a traditional or “closed” MRI unit because they must lie still inside a narrow tunnel within the scanning magnet. Sedatives may be given for patients who experience difficulty in the confined space. We also feature newer “open” MRI unit that do not enclose the patient to alleviate this problem. However, “closed” units provide more accurate results and that’s why in some cases, “open” units cannot be used.

During the examination, you will be asked to rest motionless on a padded table for 30 to 90 minutes depending on the area of your body being scanned. The anatomic area of interest will be positioned in the centre of the magnet.

How can I prepare?:

There is generally no special preparation required prior to the examination.

  1. Patients can continue to take all medication and follow their regular diet unless instructed otherwise.
  2. Prior to entering the scan room, the patient will be instructed to remove all metal objects from their body. Credit cards and ATM cards must not be brought into the scan room, as the magnet will erase the magnetic codes on the cards. Patients with metallic or electronic implants, pacemakers or aneurysm clips should alert the technician prior to entering the scan room as the MRI may adversely affect these items.

Safety Note: Women who are pregnant are typically advised to not undergo an MRI procedure.

What are the Contrast-Based MRI Scans?

Some MRI examinations require the use of a non-iodine containing injectable contrast material to increase the sensitivity of the examination and achieve additional information. The contrast material is injected into a vein using a very small needle. The decision to use the contrast material will be made by the referring physician and/or radiologist. Some of the more common reasons for injection of contrast include 1) assessing for recurrent disc herniation after surgery, 2) assessing for infection or inflammation, and 3) assessing for spinal masses.

It is always preferrable to eat light meals or do not eat for several hours before the test since it would be uncomfortable to go through the examination on a full stomach as contrast material rarely can cause nausea.