Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a test that produces very clear pictures, or images, of the human body without the use of x-rays. MRI uses a large magnet, radio waves and a computer to produce these images.
Patients with the following medical devices can be safely examined with MRI:
- Surgical clips or sutures
- Artificial joints
- Cardiac valve replacements
- Disconnected medication pumps
- Vena cava filters (after 6 weeks for certain types)
- Brain shunt tubes for hydrocephalus
- Metal stents
Some conditions may make MRI examination inadvisable. Tell your doctor if you have any of the following conditions:
- Heart pacemaker
- Cerebral aneurysm clip (metal clip on a blood vessel in the brain)
- Implanted insulin pump (for treatment of diabetes), narcotics pump (for pain medication), or implanted nerve stimulators (“TENS”) for back pain
- Metal in the eye or eye socket
- Cochlear (ear) implant for hearing impairment
- Weight of more than 300 pounds
- Inability to lie on back for 30 to 60 minutes
- Claustrophobia (fear of closed or narrow spaces). Please note: if this condition applies to you, Some patients may be candidates for sedation as long as prior arrangements have been made to the exam.
Allow 2 hours for your MRI exam. In most cases, the procedure takes 40 to 80 minutes, during which several dozen images may be obtained.
BEFORE THE EXAM
Personal items such as your watch, wallet, including any credit cards with magnetic strips (they will be erased by the magnet), and jewelry should be left at home if possible, or removed prior to the MRI scan. Secured lockers are available to store personal possessions.
DURING THE EXAM
You will be asked to wear a hospital gown during the MRI scan.
As the MRI scan begins, you will hear the equipment making a muffled thumping sound that will last for several minutes. Other than the sound, you should experience no unusual sensations during the scanning.
Certain MRI exams require an injection of a contrast material called gadolinium. This helps identify certain anatomic structures on the scan images.
Please feel free to ask questions. Tell the technologist or the physician if you have any concerns.
AFTER THE EXAM
Generally, you can resume your usual activities and normal diet immediately.
The results of your MRI should be available to your physician within 24 hours after your test
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) uses radiation to detect, localize and quantify cancer inside the human body. PET scans are the most reliable, effective method for the evaluation of metastatic disease and help oncologists with the initial staging of cancers as well as to evaluate disease response for various treatment plans. When oncologists and patients need accurate, fast answers there is no more powerful tool than a PET scan.
X-ray is most commonly known for determining whether or not a bone is fractured, however, you may also be sent for an x-ray to check for various other conditions such as pneumonia, arthritis, bowel obstruction or scoliosis. Depending on your condition or complaint an x-ray may be the first step in the imaging process where as sometimes it will be followed with a CT scan or MRI.
Also called a CAT scan, this diagnostic tool gives doctors internal images far superior to x-rays. A CT visually slices the body for a clear image of the structures and tissues This amazing technology is key in cancer diagnoses and detecting other types of diseases that attack deep inside the body.