Magnetic resonance imaging, also known as an MRI scan, uses radio waves and magnets along with a computer to create detailed two-dimensional or three-dimensional images of organs and tissues. Radio signals given off by the body are digitally processed to produce images based on both the body’s anatomy and its chemical composition. There is no radiation involved in the MRI exam. Patients who know what to expect tend to have less anxiety about this painless, non-invasive test.
Preparing for an MRI
Most MRI scans do not require dietary restrictions before the test. Leave jewelry at home since it will have to be removed for the test. You will be asked to place your belongings in a locker and change into a gown. Once you are in the exam room, the technologist will confirm your identification and exam orders. An MRI exam is probably one of the easiest and most comfortable medical exams you may ever experience.
During the Test
For some patients, your doctor will order an injection of contrast dye through an IV, which will be inserted just before the scan. This simply makes details of the MRI more clear. You will be asked to lie on a cushioned table that will automatically move into the magnet after you’ve been comfortably positioned. During the test, the technologist will be in another room with a glass window and can be contacted by you through a microphone or a buzzer that you will hold.
While it’s important to lie still during the procedure, the scan itself is painless. Banging, thumping, or tapping noises may be heard, so we provide non-magnetic headphones for you to listen to your choice of music during the test. The entire MRI takes between 15 and 60 minutes to complete depending on the size and number of body parts to be scanned. We also offer Extremity MRI for hand, wrist, foot, or knee scans; this technology places only that specific body part to be inserted into the machine, rather than a full scan. When the screening is over, you may resume normal activities, including working and driving, right away.
Patients experiencing pain or musculoskeletal issues can schedule an appointment with Sarasota Orthopedic Associates at any of our three locations by calling 941-951-2663 or going to our website here. In addition to MRI and other imaging tests, we offer specialized care for chronic and acute conditions of the foot, ankle, hip, knee, shoulder, spine, elbow, hand, and wrist.