What is a MRI Scan? MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging and the pictures produced are able to show a great amount of contrast and resolution between different types of soft tissue and bone. MRI shows details of internal structures of the body and can visualize bone fractures, nerve impingement, muscle tears, blood vessels, disc herniation, scar tissue from previous surgery, inflammation, swelling, etc. This is why MRIs are often used to diagnose problems related to the spine and back pain – because they can identify muscles and ligaments surrounding the spine and the spaces between the vertebrae through which nerves travel in addition to the vertebral discs. MRI of the spine is necessary to confirm a suspected diagnosis and determine if the severity of the condition requres back surgery, or more conservative back surgery alternatives such as spinal injections.
What can I expect during my MRI Scan? Before your exam, a MRI technologist will ask you to fill out a screening form to make sure that you do not have any metal in your body that could be dangerous or harmful to you for a MRI scan. Then you may be asked to change clothes and lock up your belongings. At our facility, we provide a wide variety of music to choose from during your time in MRI. We have an OPEN MRI machine, eye masks and techniques to help with claustrophobia. Our techs take time to not only listen to your concerns, but also will check in on you throughout the exam. Their eyes are on you the entire time you are in the machine. MRI machines make a knocking sound while the scans are taking pictures and we can provide ear plugs for those that find them necessary. During a MRI exam, patients generally lie on their back, head first into the machine. Lumbar spine and some extremity exams can be done going feet first for patient comfort.
How long does it take? Most exams take 30 minutes to an hour to complete. Once the MRI is completed, the technologist will burn a copy of the images onto a disc to provide to the patient. We also pay for patient parking on the day of the MRI exam.
When can I expect the results of my MRI Scan? Most MRI reports are back the following day.