What is It?
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to produce detailed pictures of the body's internal structures that are clearer, more detailed and more likely in some instances to identify and accurately characterize disease than other imaging methods. It is used to evaluate the body for a variety of conditions, including tumors and diseases of the liver, heart, and bowel. MRI is noninvasive and does not use ionizing radiation.
What to Expect
Because of the strong magnets used in MRI, certain metallic objects are not allowed into the room. Items such as jewelry, watches, credit cards, and hearing aids can be damaged. Pins, hairpins, metal zippers, and similar metallic items can distort the images. Removable dental work should be taken out just prior to the scan. Pens, pocketknives, and eyeglasses can become dangerous projectiles when the magnet is activated and should not accompany the patient into the scanner area.
Strong magnetic fields can displace or disrupt the action of implanted metallic objects, so people with cardiac pacemakers cannot be scanned and should not enter the MRI area.
MRI is cautiously used for people with metallic objects in their bodies such as inner ear (cochlear) implants, brain aneurysm clips, some artificial heart valves, older vascular stents.
Sheet metal workers, or those with similar potential exposure to small metal fragments, may be screened for metal shards within the eyes with X-rays of the skull. The patient will be asked to sign a consent form confirming that none of the above issues apply before the study will be performed.
The Magnetom Espree, a wide bore 1.5T MRI, at Northern Arizona Radiology.
The wide bore significantly decreases the number of incomplete exams due to claustrophobia and makes it possible to provide service to obese patients. Image quality is greatly increased when the patient is relaxed because they are able to hold still longer during the exam.
Obesity: The wide and short bore of the Magnetom Espree allows imaging of obese patients who would not typically fit into a high field strength MR scanner. Since two-thirds of American adults are overweight, the health-care industry is challenged to accommodate large patients with imaging systems that were designed for people who weigh much less. Currently, if a patient is unable to fit inside the bore of a high-field MRI magnet then image studies are done in open MRI systems with low-field magnets. This limits the diagnostic usefulness of the images obtained.
Claustrophobia: We are pleased to better serve claustrophobic patients. Our MRI features a bore opening of nearly 2.3 feet in diameter and almost one foot of free space between a patient’s head and the magnet. In addition to the spacious comfort offered by the MAGNETOM Espree, the MRI also features the shortest 1.5 Tesla magnet available. At approximately four feet long, the magnet allows many exams to be completed with the patient’s head outside the bore. The features of the magnet help ease feelings of claustrophobia.
High Quality Imaging: The MAGNETOM Espree provides the best patient comfort, high-quality images and diagnostic confidence for all types of patients. Northern Arizona Radiology uses a variety of dedicated coils (antennas which pick up the MR signal) specific for the body part being imaged to maximize image quality. We also now offer breast MRI with a dedicated breast coil.