What Everyone Needs To Know About MRI Testing

Magnetic resonance imaging or MRI is a non-invasive procedure that provides a high-resolution image of the interior of the body. It is similar to an X-ray but instead of bones, an MRI will show soft tissue. MRIs are used to diagnose spine and joint conditions that are not fractured. Typically an MRI is required as part of the evaluation process to determine if a patient is a candidate for surgery. An MRI shows a detailed image that allows a surgeon to see why symptoms are being caused and whether surgery would be the best course of action. 

At BEST, we now offer this form of imaging for our patients. This allows us to make the best possible diagnosis of the condition you have and whether you are a candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures. This guide will help you understand everything you need to know about MRI testing. 

Why Would I Need an MRI

Whether or not you need an MRI will depend on the condition you have. It is often recommended by your doctor to help determine if a surgical procedure would be appropriate for your condition and symptoms. 

This type of imaging becomes necessary when you are experiencing constant pain and there is not a clear diagnosis as to what is causing the symptoms. Therefore an MRI will allow your doctor to view a detailed analysis of soft tissue, such as cartilage and ligaments, to provide a better diagnosis. Normally the scan will show the cause of your symptoms as well as if you may need surgery. An MRI helps your doctor see things other imaging technology can not show. 

MRI testing is a very valuable asset for doctors and surgeons alike. However, not everyone can get an MRI test. An MRI machine uses powerful magnets to function. Taking this into consideration, patients with certain electronic or magnetic implants may be unable to have an MRI. Our staff at BEST will ensure you can safely undergo an MRI scan as well as go over every detail in depth so that you can feel safe and prepared for the MRI scan. A few other examples of patients who might not be able to get an MRI scan include:

  • Women who are pregnant
  • Patients who have cardiac pacemakers or neurostimulators
  • Patients with cochlear implants or other ear implants

What to Expect During An MRI

The way an MRI machine works is that it transmits radio waves toward the body through powerful magnets. The patient can expect their MRI technicians to work from a nearby room and communicate with them via microphone.  

When performing this diagnostic procedure, an MRI technician typically follows these steps:

  • Patients will change into a gown and remove any objects containing metal such as jewelry, glasses, hairpins, or hearing aids.
  • Headphones and earplugs will be provided to reduce any noise the machine makes. 
  • Patients must stay completely still during the procedure to ensure a clear image is captured.
  • Sessions will typically last 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the individual’s circumstances. 

In addition to providing diagnostic procedures, BEST Health System’s healthcare professionals will assist you on the path to recovery. After an MRI you will discuss the results with your doctor and together you will determine the best course of action in terms of treatment based on the results. 

Common Concerns Surrounding MRI

Hearing, you need an MRI can cause a bit of discomfort. However, there is nothing to worry about. If a doctor recommends you for an MRI it is because you need one in order for an accurate diagnosis to be reached. Here are a few common concerns surrounding MRIs:

Is it safe?

Yes, MRI scans are completely safe. In fact, it has been deemed one of the safest technologies for imaging the body by many studies. There is no pain associated with the examination, and no known tissue damage is caused by the magnetic field. 

How do I stay calm during the scan?

For some people, the noise an MRI produces can alarm them. To combat this we offer earplugs to reduce the sound and headphones to listen to music during the test. If you need an MRI scan, BEST will do all we can to ensure you are comfortable. We want the scan to be as stress-free as possible. 

What if I am Claustrophobic?

Our MRI machine is a wide, short-bore scanner. It is fully lit and always open on both ends. Our well-trained technologist can employ several techniques to make you comfortable and help you through the exam. For certain tests, your head will not be underneath the bore of the scanner.

What Type of Information Do Doctors Get With an MRI?

An MRI will tell the doctor a number of things but it can be hard to decipher. The following is what a scan will tell your doctor:

  • An MRI scan can more accurately detect diseases of soft tissues than other imaging methods. With this level of detail, it is an invaluable tool for the early diagnosis and evaluation of a wide range of focal lesions and tumors.
  • A wide range of conditions can be detected with the scan, including cancer, heart, and vascular disease, as well as abnormalities of the muscles and bones.
  • In contrast to other imaging methods, MRI can detect abnormalities that may be obscured by bone.

If you have any questions about your specific MRI scan and what it is meant to tell you do not hesitate to ask your doctor questions. They will give you a thorough explanation of what your MRI is showing and how to move forward with the information the scan has provided. 

BEST Health System Can Help

BEST now offers this form of imaging diagnostic to its patients. If you are in the Cincinnati area, you can now utilize our newly installed MRI. Our state-of-the-art scanner employs the latest in imaging technology. Using a Magnetom Aera MRI machine, BEST Health System is able to offer high-quality imaging. The following are a few characteristics of our machine at BEST Health System: 

  • 50% higher productivity with Tim 4G and Dot. 
  • Faster acquisition and exam time.
  • Full range of applications for the clinical routine and research.
  • High patient comfort with 70 cm Open Bore and ultra-short system design.
  • High-resolution imaging.
  • Holds up to 250 kg/550 lb to accommodate more patients.
  • Optimized comfort for immobile patients.

If you would like to learn more about the MRI machine at BEST or would like to find out if you are a candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures, feel free to contact us today!