How Does an MRI Work?

Your doctor may use an MRI machine when it’s necessary to get a detailed image of part of your body. While the large machine may look intimidating, MRI scans are noninvasive, meaning they do not tamper with your body, and don’t hurt a bit! Wondering what to expect when going for your first MRI? Get your answers, here:

What is an MRI?

MRI is an acronym for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Using a magnetic field and radio waves, an MRI can generate clear, detailed images of areas of the body surrounded by bone tissue. Doctors use these images to determine the severity of a patient’s condition, often in the brain or spinal cord.

How Does It Work?

An MRI machine uses a strong magnetic field created by passing an electric current through wires. As the current moves, other coils in the magnet send and receive radio waves, triggering protons inside the body to align themselves. The aligned protons then absorb the radio waves, causing them to start spinning. The spinning molecules release energy, sending signals that are picked up by the coil. The information carried through the energy signals is then processed by a computer, which generates it all into a 3-D image of the area being examined.

What Should I Expect When Getting an MRI?

You won’t have to do much to prepare for an MRI. Your doctor will give you a gown to change into and ask you to remove any jewelry, credit cards or metallic items that you may have on your body. Because MRIs use magnets, metal objects may interfere with the scan and lead to poor quality results.

An MRI requires you to lie still in a semi-enclosed space for about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the part of your body being examined. People who are claustrophobic may feel uncomfortable while lying in the machine, but you can take comfort in knowing the procedure is completely pain free and is not harming your body. Be prepared to hear a loud tapping noise as the magnets are turned on and off during the scan. If you think the noise will bother you, ask for a pair of earplugs, although most offices offer headphones for your radio-listening convenience.

State of the Art Equipment at Coastal Orthopedics

At Coastal Orthopedics, our MRI facility is fit with state of the art equipment that has been refined to the specifications of our physicians to produce clear images. When your scan is complete, the image goes directly to our server where it becomes available to your Coastal physician at any one of our facilities.

Schedule an appointment today to experience the Coastal Orthopedics difference.