If you have been injured in an accident, your doctor may need to take some x-rays to see if your pain is caused by broken bones. If the x-ray shows that no bones have been broken, and your pain persists, your doctor may then order MRI testing for you.
What is an MRI? Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) tests are noninvasive means for doctors to identify injuries, diseases and other medical conditions. MRIs utilize magnetization and radio frequencies to record images of targeted body parts, offering internal views of the body which x-rays cannot produce. MRIs are often used to evaluate organs of the chest, abdomen, and pelvic region. The procedure is also useful in examining tumors, cysts, and diseases, as well as detecting breast cancer.
There are two types of MRI units, open and closed. Closed MRI units are the most common, and look like large, cylindrical tubes. Open MRI units (or short-bore systems) are not as enclosed, making them ideal for patients who suffer from claustrophobia.
What should I expect for my MRI? If you are to take an MRI test, you may have to fast for 8-12 hours prior to the procedure. Depending on the procedure, you may also have to drink or be injected with contrast material (also known as contrast media or contrast agents), a fluid which helps to produce clear images. The procedure will call for you to lie on a moveable examination table. It is possible that you will be strapped to the table to reduce your movement. Your table will then be inserted into the magnet, at which point the radiologist or technician will leave the room so the recording can begin. For some patients, being inside the magnet can induce feelings of panic, but it is important to remember that a technician will be able to see and hear you at all times.
Here are some things to keep in mind during your MRI procedure:
You must move as little as possible during the procedure to ensure that the images are clear.
While the MRI unit is recording images, you will hear humming or banging noises. These noises are normal.
MRI scans will often be conducted multiple times. This is standard procedure.
MRI procedures can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.
Stay calm. You are in good hands.
An MRI scans can present valuable information in a personal injury law suit, but, most importantly, they will help to keep you safe and healthy.
For more information on MRIs, visit Radiology.org.