“MRI” stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging-MRI is a common diagnostic imaging test that a physician orders to detect abnormalities that might exist in the musculoskeletal system. MRI scans help a physician to diagnose conditions such as torn knee ligaments, torn rotator cuffs, hip and pelvis problems or herniated disks. MRI uses magnetic fields and radio waves to make pictures of the body without using x-rays. The pictures are called scans, and are 3-dimensional views shown on a screen. MRI passes through bone and takes pictures of soft tissue, such as tendons, blood vessels and the brain.
Most patients with joint replacements and other orthopedic hardware do not present a problem and may still be scanned. Remember to bring any implant cards to your appointment. However, if any of the following conditions exist, please notify the technician prior to your scan.
- Cardiac Pacemaker or Defibrillator (ICD)
- Brain Aneurysm Clips
- Ear or Eye Implants
- Implanted Pumps or Devices
- Implanted Neuro or Bone Stimulator Devices
- Heart Valve Replacements
- Other Prosthetic Devices
- Metal Fragments in the Eye
- Stents or Filters
Upon arriving at OrthoWilmington, PA for your scheduled appointment, you will be escorted to the MRI suite by one of our certified technologists to a private dressing area located in our MRI suite. Please remember to wear comfortable clothing with no metal zippers. You may be asked to change into a patient gown so that metal zippers and snaps do not interfere with the test. In addition, all other metal items will need to be removed prior to your scan including: jewelry, hairpins, hearing aids, coins, credit cards, glasses, dental work, and makeup. All of your belongings will be secured in a locker in the dressing room located in the MRI suite. The MRI technologist will position you on a padded table, which will slide into the scanner. You will not be placed in any uncomfortable positions. A coil may be placed in the area of the body to be examined. It is important that you remain as still as possible during the test so that the pictures are not blurred. However, you should relax and breathe normally. You may even take a nap if you wish.
During the test, none of the equipment will move. You will hear rhythmic knocking sounds as the scanner works. This is normal. The examination is made up of a series of several short imaging sequences. The entire exam should take from 30-45 minutes. The technologist will control the exam from another room but can see, hear and talk with you at all times.
OrthoWilmington uses a 1.5 GE Tesla magnet for MRI testing. The MRI magnet machine is like a tube and is open at both ends allowing natural light and air inside. Our MRI suite is designed with a large bay window that allows for natural light to stream into the room creating a very open and airy environment for patients. The scanner table that patients lie upon during the actual scan will slide into the open tube and will stop depending upon the area of the body to be scanned. For some exams, a patient’s whole body may need to be in the scanner. Most MRI’s exams from the waist down (i.e. hips, knees, ankles and feet) will enter the scanner feet first. Most MRI exams from the waist up (i.e. spine, shoulder, elbows, wrist, and brain) will enter the scanner head first.
When the scan is over, the technologist will help you up and off the scanner bed. If you have had an IV, the technologist will discontinue the IV. You will be shown back to the dressing room to change back into your regular clothing and collect your valuables and then you may leave. You may resume normal activities unless they have been limited by your doctor. If you have had contrast, please drink plenty of fluids to flush the agent out of your body.
A Board Certified and Fellowship Trained Musculoskeletal Radiologist will study your scanned images and will report the results to your physician at OrthoWilmington, PA usually within 48 hours.
You will be scheduled for a follow-up MRI appointment at the time you are scheduled for an MRI appointment with your physician at OrthoWilmington, PA to discuss your results. Please make every effort to attend this appointment, as the physicians will provide the results, any treatment plan implementation/changes required and arrange for further follow up if necessary.
Disclaimer: Where pictures of patients are displayed, the patients of OrthoWilmington have consented to have their picture in this website for the purpose of patient education.