The Orthopaedic Center is a sophisticated medical facility that houses the most advanced MRI technology available. MRI is the method of choice for the diagnosis of many types of injuries and conditions because of the incredible ability to tailor the exam to the particular medical question being asked. Together, the staff and technology provide the medical images needed to aid in your diagnosis and treatment. The following information is provided to answer questions as you prepare for your imaging procedure.
What is MRI?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses a very powerful magnet and radio-frequency pulses to collect signals that are then processed by a computer to form a picture of the body part being studied. Images line up like slices from a loaf of bread.
MRI provides an unparalleled view inside the human body. MRI gives a detailed picture of the soft tissues of the body e.g. muscles, ligaments, brain tissue, discs and blood vessels. The level of detail we can see is extraordinary compared with any other imaging modality. By changing exam parameters, the MRI system can cause tissues in the body to take on different appearances. This is very helpful to the radiologist (who reads the MRI) in determining if something seen is normal or not.
Is an MRI safe?
An enormous amount of study has not demonstrated any danger from an MRI scan. It uses no x-ray radiation. The radiowave pulses are of similar frequency to your radio. The powerful magnet does not have any known side effects.
Will it hurt?
MRI is painless but may be noisy, and since scans take between 15 and 30 minutes you may become a little uncomfortable lying still for that period.
In most cases there is no special preparation and you can eat and drink normally.
If you think or know that you may have problems with enclosed spaces (claustrophobia) then it is advisable to contact us prior to the scan.
If you are taking any pain medication please do so such that its peak action corresponds to the intended scan time.
Other medications should be taken as normal.
On arrival, you will be asked to complete a safety questionnaire to ensure that you are eligible to be scanned. Certain implants and metallic objects will exclude you from an MRI scan.
Anyone with a pacemaker, clips in the brain, cochlear implants or metal chips in their eye must NOT go near such a powerful magnet. Most metal put in at surgery (hip replacements and metal rods) is safe.
You will be asked to change into a hospital gown to avoid any metallic objects being inadvertently taken into the scanner. You will be provided with a secure site to store your valuables including watch and wallet. Any credit cards taken into the scanner will have their magnetic strips erased.
During the scanning process
Prior to the scan beginning a special signal receiving coil may be placed around your knee, shoulder or abdomen (depending on the nature of the examination). You will be asked to lie on a movable table which positions the body part to be imaged in the center of the tunnel. It is important that you remain as still as possible during the scan otherwise the images taken will appear blurry. If at any time you become uncomfortable, a buzzer enables you to communicate with the technologist.
What if I'm pregnant?
If you are pregnant, or could be pregnant at the time of your appointment, please contact us prior to that time so that the situation can be discussed with your referring doctor.
MRI is usually avoided in the first trimester of pregnancy unless the diagnosis cannot wait and your doctor considers MRI to be the best investigation.
When will I get my results?
MRI investigations contain specialized and complex information. A large number of images are produced and review of these images may take several hours.
Usually the report is available to your doctor the next working day.
Please bring any previous x-rays with you on the day of your examination.
The Orthopaedic Center contracts with a wide variety of insurance companies, workers' compensation carriers, employer groups and Medicare. We know that insurance information can be confusing and hard to understand. That's why, as a service to our patients,we research eligibility and directly bill insurance providers. If you have a question about our participation with a particular plan, please call us.