Marin Outpatient MRI is an American College of Radiology accredited, MRI Scanning facility. This accreditation insures the highest technical and professional quality of examinations for our patients. The American College of Radiology is recognized as the gold standard in medical imaging and sets and constantly monitors quality standards to continuously improve patient care. Click here to learn more about ACR Accreditation, and what it means to you as a patient.
Magnetic Resource Imaging (MRI) FAQs
- What is an MRI scan?
An MRI (or magnetic resonance imaging) scan is a radiology technique that uses magnetism, radio waves, and a computer to produce images of body structures. The MRI scanner is a tube surrounded by a giant circular magnet. The patient is placed on a moveable bed that is inserted into the magnet. The magnet creates a strong magnetic field that aligns the protons of hydrogen atoms, which are then exposed to a beam of radio waves. This spins the various protons of the body, and they produce a faint signal that is detected by the receiver portion of the MRI scanner. The receiver information is processed by a computer, and an image is produced. The image and resolution produced by MRI is quite detailed and can detect tiny changes of structures within the body. MRI scanning is painless and does not involve x-ray radiation. For some procedures, contrast agents, such as gadolinium, are used to increase the accuracy of the images. Patients with heart pacemakers, metal implants, or metal chips or clips in or around the eyes cannot be scanned with MRI because of the effect of the magnet. Rarely, claustrophobic patients may have difficulty undergoing a MRI scan, but please discuss this with your ordering physician and the scheduler prior to your examination.
- Are MRI scans safe?
Yes! An MRI scan uses a large magnet so it is very important if you have any metal implants including a pacemaker, brain clip, implanted insulin pump or any other metallic objects in your body let the scheduler and the technologist know before your examination.
- When are MRI Scans used?
An MRI scan is an extremely accurate method of disease detection throughout the body. In the head, trauma to the brain can be seen as bleeding or swelling. Other abnormalities that can be diagnosed include aneurysms, stroke and tumors. The spine is often evaluated using MRI. In acute trauma, it can diagnosis abnormalities of the spinal cord and surrounding structures. It is the most accurate means of evaluating back pain associated with the vertebrae or intervertebral discs of the spine, including disc herniation’s and spinal stenosis. MRI of the breast is valuable as both as a screening test in women who are at a higher risk for breast cancer and to provide additional information in patients diagnosed with breast cancer by mammography. The joints of the body, such as the shoulder, knee and hip are best imaged by MRI, which has replaced the need for injection of dye to diagnosis traumatic lesions and degenerative joint disease. It provides valuable information on glands and organs within the abdomen, including the liver, kidneys and pancreas.
- How is the scan performed?
You will change into a patient gown in a private room and will remove all metal, jewelry, etc. The technologist will show you into the MRI suite where you will lay on the table. The table will be advanced into the scanner, and the technologist will perform the scan staying in constant contact with you. You will be provided earplugs to decrease the normal noise the scanner makes during the scan.
- How long does it take to have the scan?
Most scans take approximately 30-45 minutes. Breast MRI exams and biopsies take longer, up to an hour.
- When will my physician have the exam results?
In almost all cases, we will have the report available to your physician within 24 – 48 hours after completion of the exam.
- Can I obtain a copy of the exam results?
We will give you a copy of your scan on a CD to take with you. After the formal report is prepared, you may obtain a written copy by signing a written medical release.
Screenings Offered at Marin Outpatient MRI
- Abdominal and Pelvic MRI
- Head and Neck MRI
- Orthopedic MRI (hips, knees, shoulder, ankles, etc.)
- Magnetic Resonance Arteriography (MRA) of the aorta, head, lower leg arteries, renal arteries, carotid arteries)
- Spine MRI
- Breast MRI
- MRI Guided Breast Biopsies
For more information on the imaging tests we provide, visit this site: www.radiologyinfo.org