What Is MRI Imaging?

Magnetic resonance imaging (an MRI) produces detailed images of your insides using magnets and radio waves. While X-rays help visualize bones and joints, MRI is called upon for soft tissues. Physicians often request an MRI to evaluate issues affecting the blood vessels, breasts, abdomen, brain, joints, heart and more.

An MRI scan typically takes less than 60 minutes to complete and does not involve radiation. Depending on the need, you may benefit from a special type of MRI. Options available at South Atlanta Radiology Associates (SARA) include the following:

Brain MRI

Often, an MRI is prescribed to diagnose a variety of conditions affecting the brain, including:

  • Bleeding
  • Cysts
  • Developmental abnormalities
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Stroke-related damage
  • Swelling

MRI for Back Pain and Arthritis

When back pain requires more than home remedies, an MRI can get to the root of the problem. Likewise, bone, cartilage and ligament health can be visualized with MRI. As a result, MRI is a common tool used to diagnose and differentiate rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Knee MRI

Suspect you need knee surgery? A knee MRI will be prescribed beforehand to determine the extent of the injury and confirm surgery will be effective. With a knee MRI, the entire knee structure is imaged, from the bones and cartilage to muscles and blood vessels to tendons and ligaments. Various angles of the knee are visualized, giving a clear picture of any disease or damage.

Prep Instructions

Preparation instructions for an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) can vary depending on the specific type of MRI and the area of the body being scanned. It’s essential to follow the guidelines provided by your healthcare provider or the MRI facility. However, here are some general preparation instructions:

  1. Communicate with your healthcare provider: Inform your doctor about any medical conditions, allergies, or previous surgeries you have had. Also, disclose if you have any metal implants, such as pacemakers, cochlear implants, artificial heart valves, or metal fragments in your body.
  2. Metal objects: Remove all metal objects before the MRI. This includes jewelry, watches, eyeglasses, hairpins, dentures with metal parts, and hearing aids with metal components. Some facilities may provide a secure locker to store your belongings during the procedure.
  3. Clothing: You might be asked to change into a hospital gown for the MRI. This is because regular clothing often contains metal components (zippers, buttons, etc.) that can interfere with the imaging process.
  4. Fasting (if necessary): In most cases, you don’t need to fast before an MRI. However, if your abdomen is being imaged or if your doctor specifically instructs you to fast, follow their guidelines.
  5. Contrast dye (if used): If your MRI requires the use of a contrast agent, your doctor will inform you. Contrast agents are usually administered intravenously during the procedure. Inform your doctor if you have any known allergies to contrast dye or any kidney problems.
  6. Medications: Inform your doctor about any medications you are currently taking. They will advise you on whether it’s safe to take them before the MRI.
  7. Anxiety or Claustrophobia: If you experience anxiety or claustrophobia in confined spaces, discuss this with your doctor beforehand. They may offer medication or other coping techniques to help you remain calm during the MRI.