MRI or magnetic resonance imaging is a state-of-the-art technique that allows doctors to see inside the human body in remarkable detail without using x-rays. MRIs are produced by a powerful magnetic field, radio waves, and a sophisticated computer system. Most examinations take 45 to 60 minutes to complete.
Q: How do I prepare for my MRI?
A: Preparation for your MRI is simple. In some circumstances you may be asked not to eat or drink for a time before the MRI. You will be asked to fill out a screening form and to remove any metallic objects such as jewelry, glasses, hairpins, hearing aids, and possibly nonpermanent dentures. Wallets, credit cards, and purses must be left in a secure place.
What happens when I arrive at the MRI department?
A: At the MRI department, you will be greeted by a technologist or a nurse. This individual will explain the examination to you and give you a chance to ask questions. You will be interviewed briefly about your medical history and the possible presence of metallic objects in your body. We want you to have a good experience in the MRI department, and we want to provide the very best patient care possible. Please let us know if we can do something better or different to enable us to provide the very best service to you. We want you to be satisfied with our staff and the care that we provide.
What happens during the MRI?
A: Once in the scan room, the technologist helps you onto a padded examination table where you will be comfortably situated. While the scan is in progress, you will hear intermittent knocking noises made by the scanner. These noises are normal and no cause for alarm. The most important thing to remember is that you must remain motionless during the study to prevent the images from blurring. Throughout the test, you can speak to the technologist via an intercom or call button. We will give you earplugs to make you comfortable while the scanner is making noise. Most examinations take 45 to 60 minutes.
Why does the MRI scanner make the knocking sound during the examination?
A: The tapping or knocking noise heard during the MRI examination occurs when "gradient coils" are switched on and off to measure the MR signal reflecting from the patient's body. Depending on the type of study being performed, the knocking may be loud enough that you need to wear earplugs. Please discuss this issue with the technologist before your examination.
Why do I have to have my body in the scanner if I only need my head scanned?
A: The part of the scanner that takes the pictures is located in the center of the scanner. Therefore, to obtain images of your head, most of your body also must slide into the scanner. The same is true for studies of the spine and upper extremities.
Do I need an injection of contrast for my MRI examination?
A: Not everyone receives an injection of contrast for MRI. When an injection is needed, you will be administered a pharmaceutical contrast agent called gadolinium. This agent is only given when the radiologist or referring physician determines that it is needed for diagnostic purposes. Gadolinium contrast is used to make specific organs, blood vessels or tissue types "stand out" on an image to better show the presence of disease or injury. The decision to use gadolinium is based on the need for specific diagnostic information and the body part being examined.
When will I get my results? Who will give them to me?
A: Our radiologist will interpret your MRI scan. The radiologist studies the images, and the results are shared with your physician who will then discuss them with you.
Neurosurgical Waiting Room
While you are in surgery, your family may wait in the neurosurgical waiting room. A hospital pager, which only functions on the hospital grounds, will be given to your family. The volunteer in this area will be notified if your family wishes to leave the premises in case a member of the surgical team wishes to speak with them. Personal cell phones can be used in this area if they are not analog phones that interfere with patient monitoring systems.
After the surgery is completed, a member of the surgical team will speak to your family. Children are welcome to visit once you have been admitted to the general nursing floor. Neurosurgical procedures tend to be longer than other procedures. The lengthy wait can be challenging for young children who require constant attention in the waiting room.
>Section 5: Discharge and Followup
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