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  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Test FAQ

    Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Test

    Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is used for the examination and diagnosis of soft tissue disease and injury, for example, tumors, muscle and tendon tears, infection, etc.

    MRI uses the changes in the behavior of atomic particles when they are exposed to radio waves in the presence of a strong magnetic field to create an image of the part of the body under study. Magnetic resonance measures relaxation times of hydrogen protons after they have been excited by radio waves to create an image of an area of the body. Differences in hydrogen content between healthy and diseased tissue allows the visualization of abnormalities.

    The test does not require any preparation.

    You should avoid wearing anything metallic such as jewelry or eye make-up.

    Prior to the test, you will be asked to verify the patient screening questionnaire. Please read it carefully and verify the answers to the questions to the best of your knowledge.

    It is very important for you to inform the technologist if you are pregnant or think you may be, have had surgery, or are claustrophobic and/or have metal implants, joint replacements or wear a pacemaker.

    If you have any questions about the screening questionnaire or test, ask the technologist. He or she can explain the entire procedure before it begins.

    You will be asked to change into a gown and remove any metallic items. The technologist will take you into the MRI room and will help you onto the imaging table.

    The technologist will position you in the MRI machine and will leave the room to start the imaging process. The technologist will have you in full view at all times during the test and will be in constant communications with you via two-way microphones. It can take 30-60 minutes to take the pictures and it is important to lie as still as possible during this time to avoid blurring the images.

    Contrast may be injected, if needed, into your blood stream to highlight a particular part of your body. The contrast allows better imaging of less dense, hollow vessels and organs.

    A written report will be sent to your physician upon completion of analysis of the test. Your physician will then explain the test results to you.

    The test usually takes from 30 to 60 minutes depending on the nature of the study and the area being imaged.

    You will not feel any different during the test, but you may hear the hum of the equipment as the images are being taken.

    The contrast is eliminated from the body within two to three days.

    The tests are considered to be among the safest diagnostic tests available.

    Adverse reactions to the contrast medium are rare and seldom serious. They may include discomfort or pain at the site of injection, nausea/vomiting, headache, abdominal or chest discomfort. Side effects may pass without treatment or respond quickly to medication provided by your physician, if necessary.


    Sedation may be prescribed by the referring physician to help overcome the claustrophobia. You must arrive half an hour before the appointment time to take the medication. You must bring someone who can drive you home.

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