Mobile MRI Services

An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan is a radiology technique that uses magnetism, radio waves, and a computer to produce images of body structures.  The MRI scanner is a tube surrounded by a giant circular magnet.  The patient is placed on a moveable bed that is inserted into the magnet.  The magnet creates a strong magnetic field that aligns the protons of hydrogen atoms, which are then exposed to a beam of radio waves.  This spins the various protons of the body, and they produce a faint signal that is detected by the receiver portion of the MRI scanner.  The receiver information is processed by a computer, and an image is produced. 

  • MRI scanning uses magnetism, radio waves, and a computer to produce images of body structures.

  • MRI scanning is painless and does NOT involve x-ray radiation.

  • Patients with heart pacemakers, metal implants, or metal chips or clips in or around the eyes cannot be scanned with MRI because of the effect of the magnet.

  • Claustrophobic sensation can occur with MRI scanning.

 

Some MRI exams require the patient to receive an IV injection of during the exam.  The contrast (dye) helps to visualize the vascular structures of the imaged body part.  The contrast agent used in MRI contains a chemical called gadolinium.  This contrast (dye) is different than the contrast used in CT.  If you are allergic to CT contrast you can still receive the MRI contrast.

 

Patient and personnel screening is extremely important before entering the exam room.  Metallic objects (stethoscopes, oxygen tanks, bobby pins, pens, etc.) can become projectiles and get sucked into the magnet.

How should I prepare for the procedure?

You may be asked to wear a gown during the exam or you may be allowed to wear your own clothing if it is loose-fitting and has no metal fasteners.

 

Guidelines about eating and drinking before an MRI exam vary with the specific exam and also with the facility. Unless you are told otherwise, you may follow your regular daily routine and take food and medications as usual.

Some MRI examinations may require the patient to receive an injection of contrast material into the bloodstream. The radiologist, technologist or a nurse may ask if you have allergies of any kind, such as an allergy to iodine or x-ray contrast material, drugs, food, or the environment, or if you have asthma. The contrast material most commonly used for an MRI exam contains a metal called gadolinium. Gadolinium can be used in patients with iodine contrast allergy, but may require pre-medication. It is far less common for a patient to have an allergy to a gadolinium-based contrast agent used for MRI than the iodine containing contrast for CT. However, even if it is known that the patient has an allergy to the gadolinium contrast, it may still be possible to use the gadolinium contrast, after appropriate pre-medication. Patient consent will be requested in this instance. For more information on adverse reactions to gadolinium-based contrast agents, please consult the ACR Manual on Contrast Media.

 

The radiologist should also know if you have any serious health problems, or if you have recently had surgery. Some conditions, such as severe kidney disease may prevent you from being given contrast material for an MRI. If there is a history of kidney disease or liver transplant, it will be necessary to perform a blood test to determine whether the kidneys are functioning adequately.

 

Women should always inform their physician or technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. MRI has been used for scanning patients since the 1980s with no reports of any ill effects on pregnant women or their babies. However, because the baby will be in a strong magnetic field, pregnant women should not have this exam in the first trimester of pregnancy unless the potential benefit from the MRI exam is assumed to outweigh the potential risks. Pregnant women should not receive injections of contrast material except when absolutely necessary for medical treatment. See the Safety page for more information about pregnancy and MRI.

 

If you have claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces) or anxiety, you may want to ask your physician for a prescription for a mild sedative prior to the scheduled examination.

  • Jewelry and other accessories should be left at home if possible, or removed prior to the MRI scan. Because they can interfere with the magnetic field of the MRI unit, metal and electronic objects are not allowed in the exam room. These items include:

  • jewelry, watches, credit cards and hearing aids, all of which can be damaged

  • pins, hairpins, metal zippers and similar metallic items, which can distort MRI images

  • removable dental work

  • pens, pocket knives and eyeglasses

  • body piercings

 

In most cases, an MRI exam is safe for patients with metal implants, except for a few types. People with the following implants cannot be scanned and should not enter the MRI scanning area:

  • cochlear (ear) implant

  • some types of clips used on brain aneurysms

  • some types of metal coils placed within blood vessels

  • nearly all cardiac defibrillators and pacemakers

 

You should tell the technologist if you have medical or electronic devices in your body, because they may interfere with the exam or potentially pose a risk, depending on their nature and the strength of the MRI magnet. Many implanted devices will have a pamphlet explaining the MRI risks for that particular device. If you have the pamphlet, it is useful to bring that to the attention of the technologist or scheduler before the exam. Some implanted devices require a short period of time after placement (usually six weeks) before being safe for MRI examinations. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • artificial heart valves

  • implanted drug infusion ports

  • artificial limbs or metallic joint prostheses

  • implanted nerve stimulators

  • metal pins, screws, plates, stents or surgical staples

 

In general, metal objects used in orthopedic surgery pose no risk during MRI. However, a recently placed artificial joint may require the use of another imaging procedure. If there is any question of their presence, an x-ray may be taken to detect and identify any metal objects.

 

Patients who might have metal objects in certain parts of their bodies may also require an x-ray prior to an MRI. You should notify the technologist or radiologist of any shrapnel, bullets, or other pieces of metal which may be present in your body due to accidents. Foreign bodies near and especially lodged in the eyes are particularly important. Dyes used in tattoos may contain iron and could heat up during MRI, but this is rarely a problem. Tooth fillings and braces usually are not affected by the magnetic field, but they may distort images of the facial area or brain, so the radiologist should be aware of them.

Infants and young children usually require sedation or anesthesia to complete an MRI exam without moving. Whether a child requires sedation will depend on the child's age and the type of exam being performed. Moderate and conscious sedation can be provided at most facilities. A physician or nurse specializing in the administration of sedation or anesthesia to children will be available during the exam to ensure your child's safety. You will be given special instructions how to prepare your child for the sedation or anesthesia.

Copyright © 2013-2018 (www.nchospital.org ), all rights reserved, Ness County Hospital 
Webadmin robins@nchospital.org
Last Updated on: 06/07/2019.

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