5 Things to Know About MRI Scans
Learn more about what an MRI scan is, how long it takes, and what to expect!
1. What is an MRI?
MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. MRI scans produce images of any internal organ or area in the body.
MRI scanners use several different magnets and radio waves to capture precise images of the inside of the body. The magnetic field in an MRI scanner is very strong and powerful. Its magnetic field is thousands times stronger than the earth’s magnetic field.
2. How long does an MRI scan take?
MRI scans take anywhere from 15-90 minutes.
An MRI scan can take different amounts of time depending on what the patient is getting an MRI for and what the physician prescribes.
For an MRI the patient will change into a hospital gown and remove jewelry or other things that contain metal. The physician then has the patient lay on the table and remain completely still while the scan takes place. Once the physician has all the images needed, the scan is over and the patient is done.
3. How is an MRI scan different from an x-ray or CT scan?
MRIs can capture smaller and more accurate images than an x-ray can.
X-rays and CT Scans are helpful ways of getting images of the inside of the body, but MRIs can capture smaller and more accurate internal images. When there is a very small bone fracture, internal bleeding, small tumors, etc. the MRI scanner can pick that up more clearly and accurately than any other imaging technique can.
4. Are MRI scans dangerous?
Because MRI scanners do not use radiation they have become a very popular method of imaging. Radiation can be dangerous, especially if exposed to large amounts. The MRI system with the magnets is a lot safer for the patient and the doctor running the scan.
5. How should you prepare for an MRI?
The most important thing is to remember that you can’t wear metal when getting an MRI.
There is a strong magnetic field in the MRI scanners which can be affected when metal is worn during the scan. The metal gets pulled to the magnets which can distort the images that are captured and can potentially hurt the patient.
Many patients have metal inside their bodies from surgical replacements. The physician will ask the patient before their scan if they have any metal inside their body. This will make the physician aware so they can be careful during the scan.
Learn more about staying safe during an MRI here.