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Magnetic Resonance Imaging MRI of the Spine and Brain

Magnetic Resonance Imaging MRI of the Spine and Brain

MRI may be used to examine bones, joints, and soft tissues such as cartilage, muscles, and tendons for injuries.

MRI is a diagnostic exam that uses a combination of a large magnet, radiofrequencies and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.

How do MRI Scan work

The MRI machine is a large, cylindrical (tube-shaped) machine that creates a strong magnetic field around the patient and pulses of radio waves are sent from a scanner. The radio waves knock the nuclei of the atoms in your body out of their natural position. As the nuclei realign into proper position, they send out radio signals. These signals are received by a computer that analyzes and converts them to form a two-dimensional (2D) image of the part of the body being examined. This image then appears on a viewing monitor.

Some MRI machines look like narrow tunnels, while others are more spacious or wider. MRI scans can last from 30 minutes to two hours.

Reasons for Magnetic Resonance Imaging

In orthopedics, an MRI may be used to examine bones, joints, and soft tissues such as cartilage, muscles, and tendons for injuries or the presence of structural abnormalities or certain other conditions, such as tumors, inflammatory disease, congenital abnormalities, osteonecrosis, bone marrow disease, and herniation or degeneration of discs of the spinal cord. MRI may be used to assess the results of corrective orthopedic procedures. Joint deterioration resulting from arthritis may be monitored by using magnetic resonance imaging.

There may be other reasons for your Doctor to recommend an MRI of the bones, joints, or soft tissue.

How to Prepare for the MRI

EAT/DRINK: You may eat, drink and take medications as usual for most MRI exams.  There are some specialty MRI exams that require certain restrictions. You will be provided detailed preparations instructions by Shreya Hospital Medical Imaging when you schedule your scanning.

CLOTHING: You must completely change into a patient gown and lock up all personal belongings. A locker will be provided for you to use. Please remove all piercings and leave all jewelry and valuables at home.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Imaging takes place inside of a large tube-like structure, open on both ends. You must lie perfectly still for quality images. Due to the loud noise of the MRI machine, earplugs are required and will be provided.

ALLERGY: If you have had an allergic reaction to contrast that required medical treatment, contact your ordering Ortopaedic Specialist to obtain the recommended prescription. You will likely take this by mouth 24, 12 and two hours prior to examination.

ANTI-ANXIETY MEDICATION: If you require anti-anxiety medication due to claustrophobia, contact your Doctor for a prescription. Please note that you will need some else to drive you home.

STRONG MAGNETIC ENVIRONMENT: If you have metal within your body that was not disclosed prior to your appointment, your study may be delayed, rescheduled or canceled upon your arrival until further information can be obtained.

Based on your medical condition, your health care provider may require other specific preparation.

When you call to make an appointment, it is extremely important that you inform if any of the following apply to you:

  • You have a pacemaker or have had heart valves replaced
  • You have any type of implantable pumps, such as an insulin pump
  • You have vessel coils, filters, stents, or clips
  • You are pregnant or think you might be pregnant
  • You have any body piercing
  • You are wearing a medication patch
  • You have permanent eyeliner or tattoos
  • You have ever had a bullet wound
  • You have ever worked with metal (for example, a metal grinder or welder)
  • You have metallic fragments anywhere in the body
  • You are not able to lie down for 30 to 60 minutes.

You should move slowly when getting up from the scanner table to avoid any dizziness or lightheadedness from lying flat for the length of the should rest for some time and then go to home.

If you notice any pain, redness, and/or swelling at the IV site after you return home following your procedure, you should consult your Doctor as this could indicate an infection or another type of reaction.

Otherwise, there is no special type of care required after an MRI scan of the bones, joints, and soft tissues. You may resume your usual diet and activities unless your Doctor advises you differently.

Your Orthopedic Specialist may give you additional or alternate instructions after the procedure, depending on your particular situation.