Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an imaging technique that utilizes strong magnetic fields to image the body (abdomen and pelvis); brain; blood vessels; bones, muscles, and connective tissue; and spine. Conventional MRI units are designed to have the patient lie on an examination table that moves the patient through a tunnel-like structure, called a bore, containing powerful magnets that generate the electromagnetic fields used in the imaging process. However, some people experience claustrophobia when entering the confined space of an MRI bore, including wide bore scanners. Open MRI units are designed to create open space on the sides or have shorter bores with much wider openings.
Unlike many other imaging techniques such as computed tomography (CT), MRI does not expose patients to ionizing radiation (X-rays). MRI also provides much more detailed images of the body than other imaging exams. The improved contrast seen on MR images between diseased tissues and normal structures has made MRI the preferred imaging test for evaluation the brain, spine, musculoskeletal system and for many abnormalities in the abdomen or pelvis.
Almost any body part can be imaged with MRI. Examinations of specific body parts are optimized to provide the most detailed pictures of the area of interest. Larchmont Medical Imaging utilizes the most up-to-date equipment and protocols to produce the best images possible. The more common examinations we perform include:
Most MRI examinations do not require any specific preparation. If you are scheduled for an abdominal MRI, we will ask you to refrain from eating or drinking for two hours prior to the exam.
Some metallic implants such as cardiac pacemakers are not considered safe for MRI imaging. We will ask you to complete a screening form to check for any metal implants that may not be safe in the MRI scanner.
Some MRI examinations are best performed both before and after the injection of contrast material. Patients who have severe kidney disease should not receive this injection. Depending on your age, history of diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure, we may need to have recent blood work to be sure that it is safe to perform a contrast enhanced scan.
Most MRI exams take about 30 minutes to perform. It is best to wear clothing that doesn't contain any metal snaps or zippers. If necessary, you will be asked to change into a gown to prevent any metal in your clothing from degrading the pictures. After the examination is complete, the pictures will be reviewed by one of our board certified radiologists and a report will be sent to your doctor.