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MRI scans

An MRI scanner uses magnetism and radio waves to produce remarkably clear pictures of the inside of your head, spine or other body parts. An MRI uses a strong magnet equipped with a radio transmitter and receiver. These instruments produce soft-tissue images, which are used by radiologists to distinguish normal, healthy soft tissue from diseased tissue. Cardiac MRI, a noninvasive procedure that uses powerful magnets and radio waves to construct pictures of the heart, is available at Norton Audubon Hospital.

What to expect during your test or treatment

  • You will be asked to change into a hospital gown and take off all metal items, including rings, watches, earrings, necklaces, glasses and belts.
  • Your technologist will take you to a special room where the pictures will be taken.
  • Depending on which parts of your body are being examined, an IV needle may be inserted into your arm where you will be given a special dye, called a contrast material, to give you doctor more information about the body part being scanned.
  • You may briefly feel a cool sensation and/or a metal taste in your mouth as the contrast material begins to circulate into your body.
  • The large magnet that takes the pictures during the test is inside a special machine that looks like a big box with a hole in the middle. You will be comfortably positioned on a padded table that slides in and out of that hole. Depending on which part of your body is being examined, you may enter the magnet head first or feet first.
  • You will be given some earplugs to wear because you’ll hear a loud knocking sound during the MRI. This sound means the pictures are being taken.
  • If you are claustrophobic you may be given an oral medication that has been ordered by your physician. You will need your prescription filled in your pharmacy prior to your appointment. The MRI technologists are not able to administer any type of medication.
  • At all times during the test, you and your technologist will be able to talk to one another through an intercom system.
  • It is important that you stay very still while the MRI technologist is taking the pictures because movement can make the images look blurry and unclear. Sometimes, several sets of images need to be taken. If this is the case, you may be allowed to move a bit between each set, but your technologist will tell you what parts of your body you can or cannot move and when.

What to expect after your test or treatment

  • You may be asked to remain on the table a little longer while the technologist looks at the pictures to make sure they came out OK. If they look good, you will be free to leave.
  • You may resume all of your normal activities immediately after the test.
  • A radiologist will study the pictures and send a report to your doctor within a few days.
  • Your doctor will schedule a time to discuss the results with you.

Returning home
If you have any questions after returning home, please contact your physician.

Thank you again for choosing Norton Healthcare imaging services. It is a pleasure to serve you.

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