MRI

Magnetic Resonance Imaging

MRI Scans use powerful magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of soft tissues in the body, without ionizing radiation (X-rays).

The benefits of soft tissue contrast provided by MRIs extend to the brain, as the distinction between grey and white matter in the brain allow for early detection, diagnosis, and monitoring of diseases such as dementia and epilepsy. Contrast may also be used to make certain tissues out further.

SMIL offers 1.5T ("T" is short for "Tesla" and denotes the magnetic field strength) and 3T MRI machines. MRI provides better contrast in images of soft tissues than CT, reducing or even eliminating the need for contrast. If contrast is recommended, the contrast material used in MRI exams is less likely to produce an allergic reaction than the iodine-based contrast materials used for conventional X-rays and CT scanning.

SMIL radiologists are at the forefront of quality and service in diagnostic radiology, having been the first in Phoenix/Scottsdale to participate in research and development of FDA-approved MRI aiding software, NeuroQuant.

Many patients dislike the experience of an MRI machine. At SMIL, we offer wide-bore (aka large-bore) MRI at 5 locations as well as IV sedation.

SMIL locations providing MRI services:

NORTH SCOTTSDALE

SOUTH SCOTTSDALE

PARADISE VALLEY

PHOENIX

MESA

GILBERT

FOUNTAIN HILLS

During the scan, you will be positioned on the moveable examination table. Devices that contain coils capable of sending and receiving radio waves may be placed around or adjacent to the area of the body being studied.

If a contrast material is necessary, it may be administered intravenously. The contrast material most commonly used for MRIs, called gadolinium, does not contain iodine and can be used safely in patients with contrast allergies.

You will be moved into the magnet of the MR unit and the SMIL radiologist and technologist will leave the room while the MRI examination is performed. A technologist will describe each stage of the exam to you, and you will be able to communicate with the technologist at all times.

When the examination is completed, you may be asked to wait until the SMIL technologist or radiologist checks the images in case additional images are needed.

MR exams generally include multiple runs, some of which may last several minutes. The entire examination is usually completed in less than 60 minutes once imaging has started.

Listen to an MRI here.

During your MRI scan performed by SMIL, you will be provided with a hospital gown to wear. Many fabric blends contain metal fibers and can cause burns. You will be asked to remove any piercings if possible.

Tell your SMIL technologist if you have any metal screws, surgical staples or other metal in your body. The SMIL radiologist or technologist may ask if you have allergies of any kind, such as allergy to iodine or x-ray contrast material, drugs, food, the environment, or asthma.

The SMIL technologist should also know if you have any serious health problems, or if you have recently had surgery. Some conditions, such as severe kidney disease may prevent you from being given contrast material for an MRI. If there is a history of kidney disease, it may be necessary to perform a blood test to determine whether the kidneys are functioning adequately.

Women should always inform their SMIL radiologist or technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.

Guidelines about eating and drinking before an MRI exam vary with the specific exam.

Learn how to prepare for your specific exam below.

The MRI examination poses almost no risk to the average patient when appropriate safety guidelines are followed.

If sedation is used, there are risks of excessive sedation. The technologist or nurse monitors your vital signs to minimize this risk.

Although the strong magnetic field is not harmful in itself, implanted medical devices that contain metal may malfunction or cause problems during an MRI exam.

There is a very slight risk of an allergic reaction if contrast material is administered. Such reactions usually are mild and easily controlled by medication. If you experience allergic symptoms, a radiologist or other physician will be available for immediate assistance.

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