MRI Scan | Unity Healthcare
What to Expect During an MRI Scan
Have you recently been told you need an MRI to confirm a diagnosis or rule out specific conditions? Here’s a general overview of why these scans are used, what they entail and what you can expect before, during and after the scan is finished.

What Exactly Is an MRI Scan?
A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan is one of the most common medical imaging procedures used by hospitals and imaging centers around the world. The development of magnetic resonance imaging in 1977 was a revolutionary milestone for the global medical community due to the cutting-edge technology’s ability to capture accurate, highly
detailed images of the human body
without exposing patients to potentially harmful levels of radiation.

How Does it Work?
Using radio waves, a strong magnetic field and high-tech computer systems, MRI scanners are able to produce highly detailed cross-sectional images of the tissues, organs and other structures within the human body. These scans are quick, painless and noninvasive.

What Are MRI Scans Used For?
Magnetic resonance imaging is used to examine various parts of the body, including, but not limited to:
  • Joints – to look for signs of damaged cartilage, ruptured ligaments or tiny fractures that physicians would otherwise be unable to see in a regular X-ray.
  • Organs – to look for signs of cysts, tumors, lesions or any other abnormalities in the liver and other abdominal organs.
  • The Brain – to aid in the diagnosis of neurological conditions such as strokes and tumors.
  • The Spine – to help diagnose arthritis, spinal abnormalities, damaged discs or other potential issues that could be causing back pain.
  • The Heart – to look for structural defects or abnormalities and get a clear image of how well a patient’s heart is functioning.
Are MRI Scans Dangerous?
People often confuse MRI scans for CT scans, and vice versa, when in fact the two are quite different. CT scans use ionizing radiation to capture images of the body, which can be potentially harmful to a patient’s health. MRI scans, on the other hand, are completely safe because they do not involve any kind of radiation and are 100% painless and noninvasive. There are no known health risks associated with these scans.

What to Expect Before, During and After the Scan

Before – Little to no preparation is needed before your scan. You should dress comfortably, avoid wearing metal or jewelry and avoid caffeinated beverages the day of your scan. In
addition to your insurance card and a form of ID, you should take any previous X-ray, CT or MRI
scans with you. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the procedure, do not hesitate to address them with the radiology tech performing the scan.

During – Once you enter the scanning room, the staff will assist you in lying down on the scanning table and provide you with earplugs or headphones (if available) to help drown out the sound of the scanner. Once you are comfortable and ready to begin the scan, the MRI table will slowly move back into the narrow tube with the magnetic field. You will be in contact with the technologist performing the scan the entire time, so you can let them know immediately if, for any reason, you need or want them to stop the procedure. If you hear thumping sounds at any point, rest assured this is normal and that it’s merely the sound the machine makes when taking pictures.

MRI scans typically last 20 to 50 minutes. While it’s difficult to remain still for long periods of time, it’s imperative you do so to ensure the images captured are as clear and easy to read as possible. Depending on the area(s) being examined, you may be injected with a safe, FDA- approved gadolinium-based contrast dye to make the images even easier to read.

After – Once all of the necessary images have been taken, you will be asked a series of quick exit questions, your IV will be removed (if you had one for the purpose of administering the contrast dye) and you will be free to go about your day as usual. The images will be reviewed by a board-certified radiologist and sent to the physician who ordered the MRI as soon as possible.

State-of-the-Art Outpatient Medical Imaging Center in Lafayette, IN
InnerVision Advanced Medical Imaging Center (a Unity Healthcare partner) is dedicated to offering patients and physicians in the greater Lafayette, Indiana area a wide range of advanced medical imaging services, including:
  •     MRI
  •     CT
  •     Ultrasound
  •     X-Ray
  •     DEXA
  •     Nuclear Medicine
  •     PET/CT
  •     And More

To learn more about the services available at our advanced imaging center or to schedule an appointment,  visit us online or call 765-447-8133 today.