Before the exam
No special preparation is needed. Eat normally and take medication as usual. You may find it easier to relax if you avoid drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages before the exam.
The exam usually takes 30 to 60 minutes depending on what body part your doctor wants us to image. The study consists of several image sequences lasting 5 to 9 minutes each. It is wise to wear comfortable clothing and use the restroom before hand so you can lie still for the test.
When you arrive at the office you’ll be greeted by the receptionist and there will be some paperwork to fill out. You will be asked for your ID (drivers license) and insurance card for our records. You will also receive a questionnaire that will ask you about your symptoms (where you hurt, etc.) and any surgeries or implanted devices you may have inside your body.
Please avoid wearing excessive metal accessories
You’ll be asked to remove glasses, watches, credit cards, keys, hearing aids, (and dentures for studies of the head and neck). We provide a private changing area that allows you to place all of your belongings and securely lock them up while the exam is in progress. If you don’t have the proper attire we may ask you to change into a gown or scrubs. Your technologist will be on hand to answer any questions you may have.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging is very safe. There are no health risks associated with the magnetic field or the radio waves used by the machine. However, some special circumstances are contraindicated and patients with the following should inform the staff. These are items and devices that limit the use of the MRI for the patient’s safety.
- cardiac pacemaker or defibrillator
- intracranial aneurysm clips (brain aneurysm clips)
- bullet / gun wound (depends on location of bullet)
- metal in the eye (metal workers)
- some types of insulin pumps or infusion pumps
Please inform the technologist if you have any of these items or anything else that is of your concern.
The MRI Exam
Once you have changed and put all of you belongings away the technologist will meet with you and go over your patient history intake form and will ask you more questions for your safety.
The technologist will then take you in the MRI room and help you lie down on a cushioned table. A device called a “coil” will be placed over the body part that the referring physician has requested us to image. It helps the MRI system create a clear picture of your body. When you are comfortably positioned, the table will move under the magnet.
The technologist will then step into the control area, which is were they will operated the system, while staying in contact with you both visually through a window and through the intercom. At this time the technologist may ask you what kind of music you would like to listen to. We offer a vast selection of CDs.
As the exam proceeds, you will hear muffled thumping sounds for several minutes at a time. Depending on the sequences the technologist is running the sounds will change slightly from one to another which is perfectly normal. Relax and try to lie as still as possible. Any movement of the body part we are trying to look at during this time will blur the pictures. If you have a great deal of pain when you lie on your back, you may take medication that has been already prescribed to you by your physician or you can ask your ordering physician prior to the exam for something for pain if you think it may be an issue. If you are having a great deal of anxiety, you may also ask your physician for something to assist you through the test. In any circumstance where you are taking such medication please be sure to bring someone with you that will be able to drive for you afterwards. South Florida Imaging cannot prescribe or give any medication at the time of the exam. You must ask you referring physician for this.
After the MRI exam
Congratulations! You made it. What happens now? The technologist helps you off the table and escorts you back to the changing room. Stop by the front desks so the receptionist can give you your MRI image results on a CD. We do the rest from here. All of the images (sometimes hundreds) will be digitally sent over our own tele-radiology network. We send your MRI test results to our qualified board certified radiologists. Don’t forget to bring along your MRI CD to your doctor on your next visit.