Frequently Asked Questions
What Is an Open MRI?
Resonance Imaging (MRI) is an exciting new technology which allows your
doctor to have the clearest possible look at your internal anatomy. MRI
does not use x-rays or radiation. MRI uses a powerful magnetic field and
radio waves to provide computerized images, which appear as "slices" of
the anatomy, for the radiologist to determine the differences between
healthy and abnormal tissue. Your doctor will use this information to
help determine the course of your treatment.
MRI exams were only performed in a tunnel-like structure (Closed MRI).
Some patients experienced symptoms of claustrophobia. At The Woodlands
Open MRI & Imaging Center our Open MRI systems are open on three sides.
This allows you to speak with staff and family members during the procedure,
and generally makes for a more pleasant experience. This can be particularly
helpful for small children and those who feel uncomfortable in tight or
Click here to
see the difference between closed and open MRIs.
Why Is MRI Performed?
MRI is performed
to provide information about internal tissue that cannot be viewed through
x-ray. With MRI, the smallest structures in the body can be imaged.
What Can I Expect During An MRI Examination?
will explain the MRI procedure to you when you arrive. You will be asked
to remove and store any objects containing metal so that there is no interference
with the magnet. These include coins, watches and other jewelry, hair
clips, keys, credit cards, and dentures. Depending on the part of your
body to be scanned, you may be asked to change into a gown. You will be
asked to lie flat on a padded table. Because of the Open MRI, you will
be able to see and hear clearly.
but not all, need an injection of contrast as part of the MR examination.
When the radiologist decides that contrast is necessary, a pharmaceutical
agent, called Gadolinium is administered. The Gadolinium contrast is used
to make specific organs, blood vessels, or tissues stand out. This helps
highlight the structures to better assess for disease or injury. The referring
doctor provides The Woodlands Open MRI & Imaging Center with information
about each patientís specific medical condition. The decision to use,
or not use an injection of contrast is made on an individual basis, based
on all the information, and the body part being examined.
is necessary, a small needle (a butterfly) is inserted into a vein in
the arm or hand, and removed immediately after the injection. As with
any medication, there is a very slight chance of an allergic reaction.
Side effects are very uncommon with Gadolinium.
exam you may hear a tapping noise. This is normal and is created when
some of the parts of the magnet (the gradient coils) are turned on and
off, very rapidly, to measure the MRI signal that comes from the patientís
body. The knocking may be loud enough to require ear plugs or head phones.
During the examination, you will be able to listen to music through the
headphones, and to communicate with
the technologist at all times via intercom.
Only the portion
of the body that is being imaged must be in the center of the magnet.
For example if the head is being imaged, it must be in the magnet. If
the knees are being imaged, they must be in the center. However, in our
state-of-the-art open magnet, patients are not contained within a tunnel,
allowing for maximum comfort during the study.
try not to move when you are in the magnet, especially while you hear
the knocking noise. It is particularly important that you not move the
body part being imaged during the study. If you need to stretch a muscle,
you may do so in between image acquisition, when the knocking noise has
You may talk
to the technologist, via intercom, at any time during the study. Itís
best to talk, however, in between the pictures, to minimize any motion.
How Long Will My MRI Examination Take?
In our MRI
Center, we offer a wide array of examinations. Depending on the type of
exam you receive, the length of the procedure will typically be between
30 to 60 minutes. The technologist will discuss the specifics of your
exam, prior to your test
Is The MRI Examination Safe?
MRI does not
use x-ray or radiation, and does not present any apparent risks. If you
are pregnant or nursing you should consult your physician before having
an MRI scan.
Our MRI technologists
are certified and our Radiologists are board certified with specialized
training in MRI.
Will I Need An X-Ray?
MRI uses no
radiation, but does use a very strong magnetic field to acquire pictures.
This strong magnetic field can pull on metallic objects. For safety reasons,
the MRI staff must determine if you have metal in your body. Some patients
may have small pieces of metal in their eyes, metallic implants, prosthetic
devices that contain metal, surgical clips, or other implanted devices
that could be sensitive to the magnetic field. Occasionally, x-rays may
be necessary, to screen for metallic objects, prior to the MRI.
Is It Safe To Have An MRI If I Have Dental Fillings?
MRI will not
affect the fillings. However, occasionally, the metal within the fillings
will distort the images, if the scan is of the facial area.
Can I Have An MRI If I Am Pregnant?
MRI is considered
a safe test, and there is no ionizing radiation used. However, conclusive
evidence showing how safe MRI is for pregnant women and the fetus, is
not yet available. MRI is generally not performed during the first twelve
weeks of pregnancy (first trimester).
we do not perform MRI on pregnant women, unless there is a strong medical
indication. Prior to the test, you may want to discuss this with your
obstetrician, and the radiologist. Depending on the condition, other tests,
including ultrasound, may be available to diagnose a medical condition.
Who Cannot Have An MRI?
can have an MRI with complete safety. The technologist will ask certain
questions about your medical history to ensure the best possible results
from your exam.
with the following conditions are not candidates for MRI:
Patients with cardiac
pacemakers, neuro-stimulators or other electrical devices in their bodies.
Patients with cerebral
aneurysm clips are sometimes excluded.
Pregnant women are generally
not recommended for MRI scans. Be sure to inform your physician and
the MRI Center staff if you are pregnant.
If I Am Nursing An Infant And Have Had An MRI
With Contrast, Can I Resume Nursing After The Exam?
that patients wait for 24 hours after receiving the Gadolinium injection,
before resuming breast feeding. Patients may wish to pump breast milk
prior to the exam, and store it for use during this one day period. You
may wish to discuss this further with your doctor, or the radiologist.
Do I Need A Referral (Prescription) To Have
My MRI Examination?
doctor must provide a referral (prescription) in order for you to receive
a examination. In addition, some insurance carriers or HMOís require a
precertification. Please discuss this with your doctor and your insurance
company or HMO prior to your test.
When Will I Know The Results Of My Examination?
results will be sent promptly to your physician and a detailed written
report of the procedure, findings, and results will follow within several
days. Your physician will then call you to discuss the results. Urgent
results will be telephoned immediately to your doctor.
What Should I Do to Prepare for an Magnetic
Resonance Imaging (MRI) Exam?
preparation is needed for the exam. Eat normally and take any medications
that you usually take.
If you are
having a brain MRI please do not wear any makeup as it may interfere with
If you are
having an exam with contrast, please do not eat or drink 2 hours before
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