Magnetic resonance imaging (or MRI) scanners use radio waves and magnetic fields to produce images of your internal organs and soft tissues. Unlike x-rays or CT scans, MRIs do not use radiation to generate images. As a result, they may be prescribed by your medical provider to diagnose brain injuries, tumors, stroke, dementia, and other brain and spine anomalies. Before you get your MRI in Bend, allow us to answer some of your questions.
Here Are Our Answers to Common Questions Before Your MRI in Bend
What is the Difference Between an MRI and a CT Scan?
One of the most commonly asked questions about MRIs is how they differ from CT scans. Though both allow us to see the internal organs, there are two primary ways in which the two services differ. The first is that MRIs do not use ionizing radiation, which means we can reduce your exposure to radiation from medical imaging. This can be beneficial in certain instances such as to view an unborn child in the womb.
The second is that MRIs offer more detailed images when looking at the brain, muscles, joints, and internal organs than CT scans. This gives us a clear picture so we can help you and your doctor understand what may be causing your symptoms or diseases. At Central Oregon Radiology Associates (or CORA) we use MRIs to view the brain, breasts, prostate, soft tissue, musculoskeletal systems, and spine. We also offer fMRI services (or functional magnetic resonance imaging) to examine the brain for signs of stroke or disease. Additionally, we are the only breast MRI center of excellence in Central Oregon.
How Does an MRI Work?
The body is made up of millions of hydrogen atoms. When your body is placed in front of a magnetic field (such as an MRI scanner), those atoms temporarily align with the magnetic field allowing the sensor or computer to measure the water content of your tissues. This allows us to see whether or not tissues are healthy, functioning, and normal. We may choose to use IV contrast if it will help in the evaluation of your condition.
How Should I Prepare for My MRI?
Please tell one of our MRI technicians if you have a pacemaker, an aneurysm clip, a vascular clip, pumps, stimulators, internal hearing aids, middle ear implants, filters or stents, electronic, mechanical, or magnetic implants, or if you have had any metal injuries involving shrapnel or bullets. In addition, please let us know if you weigh more than 300 pounds.
Do not wear anything metal, including jewelry, and do not bring any valuables into the exam room with you. This includes your watch, wallet, and credit cards. Our new 1.5 and 3 Tesla with 70cm open bore scanners are comfortable and provide plenty of room for you to stretch out. If, however, you are claustrophobic, please talk to our technicians about sedation options and then be sure to bring a driver with you.