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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is performed by a technologist that is specially trained in MRI imaging. MRI provides remarkably detailed images of the body without the use of X-rays . It uses magnets, radio waves and a computer to produce detailed images of the body. MRI scans provide greater detail of body tissues and organs, than do conventional X-rays, which show bones and other hard substances. MRI scanners can more accurately detect conditions of the brain, spinal cord, abdomen, chest, bones and joints. It is commonly used for: 

  • Sports related injuries of the soft tissue and joints 
  • Diagnosing heart conditions 
  • Examining the chest and abdomen
  • Examining the brain and spinal cord

The MRI machine is a large cylindrical magnetic tube. The patient lies on the table with either feet or head first, depending on the area of the body to be scanned. The head, arms or legs may be secured with straps to prevent movement. The table then slides into the magnetic chamber. Inside the chamber, patients feel air moving around and hear thumping sounds. The thumping indicates when the MRI scans are being taken. Patients should not feel any discomfort from the magnet or radio waves nor should they have any after effects from the examination.

Contrast (dye) may be injected to show blood vessels and organs more clearly. In some cases a mild sedative may also be used, especially in cases of patients who are claustrophobic. If you are claustrophobic please discuss this with your doctor before you come for your MRI examination. During the procedure, it is important to remain still to avoid blurring of the images. MRI scans take about 30 minutes, however complex MRI procedures could take up to two hours.


Updated May 9, 2019