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UR Medicine / Imaging / Patients / Exams / Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses a strong magnetic field, radio-waves and computers to create images. MRI does not use radiation. The MRI machine is cylindrical and creates a magnetic field around the patient. MRI may be used in situations where organs or soft tissues are being studied. When examining the blood vessels, the MRI performs a specialized type of exam called an MRA (Magnetic Resonance Angiography).

Some MRI units have a wide bore. This means that the MRI tunnel is wider than that of traditional MRI units. This feature provides ease of mind for those patients who are claustrophobic and/or unable to fit comfortably into a standard MRI.

A 3T (Tesla) MRI has a magnetic field that is twice as strong as the more common 1.5 tesla scanners. This greater strength allows for more detailed images.

For other specialized MRI studies, functional 3T MRI studies are performed. A functional MRI scan is very similar to an ordinary MRI scan, with the addition of performing simple tasks (i.e., tap fingers, look at pictures/words, hear sounds, answer simple questions and perform simple language tasks) while images are taken.

Important:

You may receive a call from us to review your medical history to determine that no issues exist preventing you from having an MRI scan. If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, please provide 24 hours notice.

We ask that you call at least 3 days ahead if any of the following pertain to you so we may make the appropriate modifications to your treatment plan:

  • If you believe you may be pregnant.
  • If you have had a contrast allergy/reaction (i.e., hives, rash, itching, breathing difficulty) while undergoing a previous imaging study.
  • If you have a pacemaker or surgical implant.
  • If you have obstructive sleep apnea.

If you are very claustrophobic, consider obtaining a light sedative from your doctor. If you decide to take a sedative, someone else must drive you to and from your appointment.

Instructions for the day of your procedure

  • Please arrive on time. Allow extra time in your trip for weather, traffic and parking.
  • If you are pregnant, notify the MRI technologist.
  • If you have a known contrast allergy, notify the MRI technologist or nurse.
  • Remove and leave all jewelry and/or metal at home.
  • Leave valuables at home.
  • Bring your insurance card and photo ID.
  • Do not wear makeup.
  • A parent/guardian should remain in the building when a child (under 19 years) is having an imaging procedure.
  • All parents/guardians having an imaging study must be aware that there is no supervision available for children. Please do not have children accompany you to your appointment.

What to expect the day of your procedure

  • You will be asked to change into a scrub top and bottoms.
  • Some MRI scans require contrast. If IV contrast is needed, an IV will be inserted. Other MRI scans may require you to drink oral contrast.
  • The MRI causes no pain. It is necessary that you remain very still so that the images will be clear. 
  • You will hear tapping or knocking noises during phases of the scan. Earplugs will be provided.
  • You may experience a warm feeling. This is normal, but if it bothers you, inform the MRI technologist.
  • The MRI technologist will communicate with you at various times during the scan to ensure your comfort.

What to expect after your procedure

  • You will be provided with post-procedure instructions.
  • Your results will be sent to your referring physician within 2 business days. Please contact your physician.
  • If you have a MyChart account, your results will be posted in 14 days.

For general questions, to reschedule an exam or to request directions, please call (585) 784-2985.

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