The primary difference in an open MRI versus a standard MRI is the amount of space around you. With an open MRI, the unit is in the shape of a C with an opening at the back. An open MRI helps to ease the fears of those who do not like to be enclosed. It also allows for a guest to accompany you during your scan. Additionally, the MRI at Midwest Orthopaedic Center has the area’s strongest open magnet which allows for clear pictures. Also, our MRI has a wider opening. This will allow for larger patients and larger body parts. All guests must meet certain requirements to ensure it is safe for them to be close to our magnet.
There are several reasons why you or your doctor might choose the MRI procedure. Let’s look at a few.
For soft tissue, nothing compares to the MRIs ability to get a clear picture. If you need a picture of muscles, tendons or vital organs, the detail that an MRI offers is exceptional. With a MRI scan, your doctor can evaluate not only the condition of your tissue, but also how it may be functioning. It can also detect abnormal tissue. You will not be exposed to radiation with a MRI scan. The power for the picture is in the magnet.
You will be asked to lie on the examination table or assisted to do so. You will be made as comfortable as possible with pillows, blankets and padding. While the MRI is scanning you will be asked to be very still. Each scan is a few minutes long. Between pictures you may be permitted to move somewhat. The procedure will take somewhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
You will be able to talk to the technologist during the procedure. While the scan is taking place you will hear humming and knocking noises. You must remain still at this time. Depending on the tissue being pictured, you may be required to have what is called a ‘contrast’ injection. This is just a common IV needle ‘stick’ in your arm and should be only mildly uncomfortable. The contrast will naturally leave your body within a few days.
It is most important to remember to eliminate metal objects as much as possible. If you choose a comfortable ‘sweat’ suit [without metal attachments], you will be allowed to wear this during your procedure. Otherwise, you may be asked to change into a gown. Be mindful of zippers, pins, hairpins and hearing aids. Don’t wear any jewelry if possible. You will be asked to complete a safety form prior to your exam. Be ready to tell the technologist if you have any metal plates, pins, screws, or surgical staples. You will also want to tell them if you have a prosthetic hip, implanted port, or intrauterine device [IUD]. Although it will not eliminate you from being able to have the procedure in most cases, it is important to tell your technologist.
One of the nice things about having an MRI procedure done at our facility is that you can bring someone with you into the exam room. This person can sit by you and talk with you while you’re undergoing the procedure. It’s important to remember that you will not want to choose a companion who has a pacemaker, aneurysm clip or is pregnant. People with any of these conditions are not allowed in the exam area for heath reasons. The technologist will screen them to determine their safety.
Once you’ve had your MRI scans completed, you will be able to return to your life. There should be no pain or discomfort resulting from this process. If you had contrast, it will naturally be expelled over a day or two.
After your scan has been completed, your images will be read by a doctor specializing in MRI exams. Your doctor will then communicate those findings to you at your next appointment.
Midwest Orthopaedic Center has been awarded a three-year term of accreditation in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) as the result of a recent survey by the American College of Radiology.
To learn more about the ACR Accreditation click here.
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