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MRI Images

A magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI) uses radio waves and magnetic fields to create images of the inside of the body. Often MRIs are used to offer more information to make a diagnosis after other imaging tests are completed.

Why do I need an MRI?

There are many reasons your doctor may order an MRI scan. MRIs are effective when images are needed of your:

  • Spinal cord or brain
  • Liver
  • Prostate
  • Breasts
  • Joints
  • Heart
  • Blood flow

What should I expect during an MRI?

To prepare for your MRI, you’ll need to remove items like hearing aids, removable dental pieces, or hairpins that have metal in them. In some cases, you may be sedated for your MRI. In other cases, you’ll be offered earplugs to reduce the noise you hear during your scan.

During your MRI, you’ll lie on a table that will go into the scanner. The MRI scanner has a strong magnet and can be noisy. It’s important to stay still to get the best images possible. Depending on your test, you may have dye injected into your arm to enhance the images. MRIs can take as much as an hour.

If you have an MRI without sedation, you’ll be able to leave the procedure and resume your activities. If you are sedated, someone will need to drive you home.

What are the disadvantages of an MRI?

In general, there are very few risks with an MRI. In rare cases, there is a risk of an allergic reaction if you have dye or sedation. Some people may also get anxious in the small MRI tunnel or find it hard to stay still.

Most importantly, you should let your doctor know if any of the following apply to you, as an MRI may not be right for you:

  • Liver or kidney conditions
  • Pregnancy
  • Electronic or metal implants in your body
  • Aneurysm clips in your brain
  • Cochlear implant
  • Pacemaker

What are the benefits of an MRI?

When compared to other procedures, MRIs do provide some advantages. These may include:

  • No radiation
  • Noninvasive
  • Creates scans of large parts of the body
  • Gives better images than some other imaging procedures
  • Provides differentiation between various body tissues