Magnetic resonance imaging or MRI uses a magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to generate cross-sectional images of organs, soft tissues, bone and virtually all other internal body structures. The MRI can then be examined on a computer monitor or a CD of images can be made.
MRI does not use radiation. At Iowa Radiology, we recognize that having an MRI can be an anxiety provoking situation; therefore, we offer both traditional and wide-bore MRI for your convenience. Because your comfort is important to us, we provide music headsets as well as blankets to make your experience more comfortable. Our knowledgeable, professional team will put you at ease and answer all of your questions before the exam.
If you are pregnant, have had an aneurysm clip, have had ear or eye prosthesis or have a pacemaker, you may not be a candidate for an MRI. Because some tests require an injection of intravenous (IV) contrast, please inform your doctor if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or have (had) renal insufficiency or acute vascular disease. You may or may not be able to receive contrast.
Most generally, there is no prior preparation required before the exam. Some tests require an injection of IV contrast. For exams requiring contrast, a current creatinine test (within 45 days) may be required. The creatinine test is a blood draw which evaluates your kidney function and will normally be performed at your physician's office or lab prior to the exam. If fasting is necessary, your doctor will provide these instructions. You will need to remove all jewelry, hairclips, and bobby pins. In addition, you will need to remove all clothing containing metal including bras with metal enclosures and jeans with metal zippers and buttons. You will be provided a gown and a secure locker in which valuables can be placed.
Our technologist will take a brief medical history. If you are receiving IV contrast, you will be asked to lie down on the scanning table and the contrast material will be injected into a vein in your arm. The table will then slide into the scanning area. During the test, the MRI will make a rapid tapping noise. Just relax and remain still.
You should plan 60-90 minutes of total clinic time. The scan typically takes 30 to 60 minutes depending on the exam performed and if contrast is required.
You may return to normal activities following your exam.
A radiologist will review the images and send a report to your referring physician within one business day. Your doctor will review the report and contact you with the results.