Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Lake Medical Imaging’s Wide Bore MRI offers new dimensions in patient comfort for all patients, with the ability to capture high-field, optimal quality diagnostic images.
Romil Y. Patel, MD
What is MRI?
Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, uses strong magnet and radio waves to provide clear and detailed diagnostic images of internal body organs and tissues. MRI allows evaluation of some body structures that may not be as visible with other diagnostic imaging methods. Contact our MRI Center in Leesburg or The Villages to find out more.
MRI is a valuable tool for the diagnosis of a broad range of conditions, including:
- heart and vascular disease
- joint and musculoskeletal disorders
Lake Medical Imaging offers both Open MRI and ‘Short-Bore’ MRI for higher resolution at our MRI imaging centers located in Leesburg and in the Sharon Morse Medical Center at The Villages. Our Lake Sumter Landing location in The Villages also features a high resolution, Short-Bore MRI unit.
What are some common uses of MRI?
Imaging of the Musculoskeletal System: MRI is often used to study the knee, ankle, foot, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand. MRI is also a highly accurate method for evaluation of soft tissue structures such as tendons and ligaments, which are seen in great detail. Even subtle injuries are easily detected. In addition, MRI is used for the diagnosis of spinal problems including disc herniation, spinal stenosis, and spinal tumors.
Imaging of the Heart: MRI of the heart, aorta, coronary arteries, and blood vessels is a tool for diagnosing coronary artery disease and other heart problems. Doctors can examine the size and thickness of the chambers of the heart and determine the extent of damage caused by a heart attack or heart disease.
Imaging for Cancer & Functional Disorders: Organs of the chest and abdomen such as the liver, lungs, kidney, and other abdominal organs can be examined in great detail with MRI. This aids in the diagnosis and evaluation of tumors and functional disorders. In the early diagnosis of breast cancer, MRI is an alternative to traditional x-ray mammography. Furthermore, because there is no radiation exposure is involved, MRI is often used for examination of the male and female reproductive systems.
How should I prepare for an MRI?
Before your MRI exam, remove all accessories including hair pins, jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids, wigs, dentures. During the exam, these metal objects may interfere with the magnetic field, affecting the quality of the MRI images taken.
Notify your technologist if you have:
- Any prosthetic joints – hip, knee
- A heart pacemaker (or artificial heart valve), defibrillator or artificial heart value
- An intrauterine device (IUD)
- Any metal plates, pins, screws, or surgical staples in your body
- Any previous brain surgery
- Tattoos and permanent make-up
- A bullet or shrapnel in your body, or ever worked around grinding metal, or had metal removed from your eye
- If you might be pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant.
- If you are claustrophobic. Some patients who undergo MRI in an enclosed unit may feel confined. If you are not easily reassured, a sedative may be administered.
What should I expect during this procedure?
Plan on being with us for a minimum of 30 minutes, depending on the part of the body being scanned. Open MRI appointments take a minimum of 45 minutes.
- You must lie down on a sliding table and be comfortably positioned.
- Even though the technologist must leave the room, you will be able to communicate with them at any time using an intercom.
- If necessary, a friend or family member may be allowed to stay in the room with you during the exam.
- You will be asked remain still during the actual imaging process. However, between sequences, which last between 2-15 minutes, slight movement is allowed.
- Depending on the part of the body being examined, a contrast material may be used to enhance the visibility of certain tissues or blood vessels. A small needle is placed in your arm or hand vein and a saline solution IV drip will run through the intravenous line to prevent clotting. About two-thirds of the way through the exam, the contrast material is injected.
What will I experience during an MRI?
- MRI is painless.
- Some claustrophobic patients may experience a “closed in” feeling. Our Open MRI machines have helped to alleviate this reaction, as they allow our patients to look out into the room.
- You will hear loud tapping or thumping during the exam. Earplugs or earphones may be provided to you by the MRI center.
- You may feel warmth in the area being examined. This is normal.
- If a contrast injection is needed, there may be some discomfort at the injection site. You may also feel a cool sensation at the site during the injection.