When it comes to diagnosing injury, disease, and other problems, MRI imaging can provide doctors with advanced technological support. Below are seven frequently asked questions from patients as well as answers to provide you with the knowledge and comfort you need before experiencing the procedure.
1. What Exactly Is an MRI?
MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, referring to the large magnet utilized in producing highly detailed images of a specific area of the body. An MRI helps orthopedic doctors identify an injury, assess for the severity of the injury, establish an appropriate diagnosis, and monitor the injury through treatment. An MRI can also be useful in diagnosing disease and monitoring the progress of treatment for the disease.
2. How Long Does an MRI Take?
The average length of an MRI is around 30 minutes, though the scheduled procedure time will likely be longer due to preparation time and allowing for time to speak with your doctor and radiologist. The length of time also depends on the type of exam and how many are requested by your doctor, though this will all be communicated with you prior to the procedure so you know exactly what to expect.
3. How Should I Prepare for an MRI?
There is generally no specific preparation work necessary for an MRI. Some patients who are having an MRI of the abdominal area may be encouraged to fast for a few hours prior to the MRI, though this would be clearly communicated to you by your doctor ahead of time.
4. What Should I Wear for an MRI?
The most important thing to remember as a patient is to remove all jewelry and anything metal (piercings, etc.). Your clothing should be free of any metal, no zippers or buckles, so a gown or metal-free clothing may be given to you. Because the MRI machine contains a large magnet, it is very important that nothing metal is present at the time of the test.
5. What Is an MRI Like?
The technician will explain the entire process for you upon arrival. They will confirm you do not have any metal on or inside of your body (if you do have any internal surgical implants, such as a pacemaker, please speak with your doctor about this before the procedure).
The actual test itself is painless, though you may experience some discomfort in needing to stay still for the duration. You will be made aware of the length of time expected for you to remain completely still, and a medical professional will be available the entire time if you need anything.
You will lie on a table with cushions specifically designed to enhance the MRI experience, and your body will be positioned under the magnet depending on the area that requires imaging. You will be provided with earplugs for the duration because the scanner does emit loud sounds as the MRI machine is developing the images.
6. What if I Am Claustrophobic?
Contrary to other diagnostic tests or what you may have seen on TV, the latest technologies have made the MRI machine a much more open experience. However, if you struggle with claustrophobia and are concerned about the experience, speak with your doctor about options that may work best for you.
Some options for combating claustrophobia and the MRI experience are blindfolds, specialized glasses, and an oral prescription to help alleviate anxiety during the test. Our team at AICA Orthopedics can work with you to determine the best plan for your specific experience.
7. When Will I Know My Results?
While the MRI images are taken instantaneously with these advanced technologies, they will still need to be reviewed by the radiologist and your doctor. Once they review the images, they will contact you and schedule a follow-up for further discussion as needed.
Our team at AICA Orthopedics will communicate any information found on the scans, as well as a comprehensive explanation of what will come next, so you can know exactly what is going on with your body.
Our medical team at AICA Orthopedics values our patients and strives to provide the safest, stress-free experience when you visit our office. Contact us for more information today!