What is an Open MRI?
The MRI machine at Iowa Ortho is an open unit, which means it is open on the sides. This allows individuals to look to the side and see out, accommodating those who are claustrophobic.
Images from the MRI machine are formed when signals emitted by body tissue are processed by software and turned into clinical images. These signals are generated using a safe magnetic field in combination with radio waves of a specific frequency. Different tissue characteristics are translated into different contrast levels (shades of gray) on the image. A typical procedure averages 30 minutes or longer, depending on the type of information required by your physician. To make your images as clean as possible, relax and remain still during the exam. Some patients even fall asleep during their MRI.
• Complete the pre-screening form to verify that it is safe for you to have an MRI. Let your doctor know if you have ever had any metal in your body. If you have injured your eyes while welding or grinding, you will need to have an x-ray to confirm that there are no longer any fragments in your eyes.
• Provide previous imaging such as x-ray, CT and MRI exams of the area that we will be scanning.
• Provide medical records for past treatment and/or surgery, especially operative notes.
• Complete a medical release so we may obtain the records you are unable to access. The results will be delayed if we cannot obtain these records.
Day of Appointment
• Bring your insurance card, photo ID and any co-payments or account balances. We will collect monies due at this time.
• Leave all valuables at home. Remove all jewelry (e.g. necklaces, rings, pins), in addition to body piercings. Remove all hair pins, bobby pins, barrettes, clips, etc. Remove your watch, cell phone, pager, bank and credit cards and any card with a magnetic strip.
• You will be asked to remove eyeglasses and hearing aids during the MRI exam.
• You will be asked to change into a gown or tank top with shorts (all provided). This is a new requirement for every patient.
• Take medicine as prescribed by your physician.
During the MRI
A technologist will be able to see you at all times. An intercom system is built into the MRI so if you need anything, the technologist will be right there.
A contrast agent may be administered to enhance the study. If you are receiving contrast, you may need to have blood work drawn. An IV will be used to administer the contrast agent. Most studies performed at Iowa Ortho do not require contrast.
Why is MRI Important?
MRI is one form of imaging used by physicians to obtain clinically useful diagnostic information. Incorporating advanced technology, MRI produces images of anatomy without the use of radiation that is required with other imaging modalities such as x-ray or CT.
MRI is a non-invasive procedure with no known side affects. The procedure is painless and you will not feel anything. The machine makes a knocking sound, which is the imaging process in operation. There are many benefits of MRI exams, and new applications are being developed through ongoing research. The exam is useful in the clinical evaluation of the following conditions:
• Blood flow & vessel disorders
• Brain disorders
• Cardiac malformations
• Eye abnormalities
• Facial/neck abnormalities
• Knee & shoulder injuries
• Liver & other abdominal disease
• Musculoskeletal disorders
• Traumatic injuries
• Tumor detection
• And much more!