Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)


What is an MRI?

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan is a way for your doctor to examine your organs, tissues and skeletal system. MRI scans use powerful magnets and radio waves to create detailed images of inside the body.

What Does an MRI Show?

MRI can be used to view, monitor or diagnose:

  • Spine, joint or muscle problems
  • Abdominal tumors and disorders
  • Brain tumors and abnormalities
  • Breast cancer
  • Heart or blood vessel problems

How an MRI Works

Scan times vary in length, depending on which part of the body is being analyzed and the number of images needed. Upon arrival for your MRI scan, you will be asked to change into a gown and remove any metal jewelry or accessories that may interfere with the MRI scanner.

Sometimes, patients will be injected with an intravenous (IV) dye or contrast liquid to improve the appearance of certain body tissue. If you have a fear of enclosed spaces (claustrophobia), you may be given medicine to help you feel more relaxed.

Your Mercy imaging professionals will ensure that you are as comfortable as possible by providing blankets or cushions and offering earplugs or headphones to block out the noises of the scanner.

The magnetic resonance imaging machine looks like a long narrow tube that is open on both ends. You will lie down on a movable table that slides into the opening of the tube. During the scan, do your best to stay very still, as movement may blur the images. Mercy’s magnetic resonance imaging professionals will monitor you from another room, and you can speak with them via a two-way intercom at any time.

After the scan, a Mercy radiologist will examine your images to check whether any further images are required. A report will be prepared for your doctor, who will make an appointment with you to discuss the results.

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