MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) exams are among the most advanced medical imaging procedures. Ideal for identifying and aiding in the treatment of a wide range of ailments, MRI exams provide detailed images of soft tissue and organs that are not easily seen through other types of imaging procedures.
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For more details, check out our individual procedure and information pages:
What you should know
What is an MRI?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) produces images of the body’s internal structures by passing radio waves through a powerful magnetic field. Differing frequencies of radio waves are produced by the different body structures in return, and these are mapped and converted into digital images by a computer. MRI is especially good for imaging soft tissues in the body, including the brain, nerves, muscles and organs.
How do I prepare for my MRI?
Usually there are no special preparations or diet instructions prior to your MRI exam. However, some studies require that you have no food or drink (including water) four hours prior to the exam, so be sure to check your patient instructions. You should continue medications prescribed by your doctor unless informed otherwise. You may want to avoid drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages prior to scanning so you’re able to lie quietly for the duration of the exam. Because no metal is allowed in the MRI room, it’s best not to wear makeup, which often contains metallic particles.
Please inform us, or your doctor, ahead of time if you have any of the following that may prevent you from undergoing an MRI exam:
- History of working with metal
- Brain aneurysm clips
- History of injury during military service
- Metallic plates, pins, or other implants
- Bullets or shrapnel inside the body
What should I expect during my MRI?
You may be asked to change into a hospital gown or a pair of our comfy sweat pants or scrubs to eliminate the chance of any metal or artifacts on your clothing. Any metal such as earrings, eyeglasses, or hairpins will all need to be removed. Always inform the technologist if there is any possibility of your being pregnant.
In the MRI room, you’ll lie on the cushioned table that will slide into the tube-shaped scanner. We’ll set you up with special non-metallic headphones so you can listen to your favorite radio station and hear any instructions the technologist may have for you. Your technologist will watch you through an observation window and will be able to communicate with you at all times.
Inside the scanner, you’ll hear loud tapping noises that change with the various imaging sequences. Remaining still during these noises is very important in order to obtain clear images.
When scanning is complete, the technologist will return to help you off the table. Typical exams take about 30 to 60 minutes.
Are Breast MRIs different?
The process is much the same for breast MRI, but you’ll lie face down with your breasts relaxed below you. We have a specially designed table to make this very comfortable. Learn more on our Breast MRI page.
What about contrast injections?
Some exams require an injection of a contrast agent to make some abnormalities easier to see. MRI contrast is an organically bound gadolinium material. Be sure to tell your technologist if you’ve had a reaction to MRI contrast, if you are particularly sensitive to medications or if you have any history of kidney disease.
How do I get the results?
A final report, produced by one of Alaska Radiology Associate’s local specialized radiologists, will be available for most exams within two hours. Questions about your results should be directed to your referring health care provider. For any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us directly.
Who do I contact with questions?
Questions about the results of your exam should be directed to your primary health care provider. For any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us directly.