Your healthcare provider has recommended you for either a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) or for magnetic resonance venography (MRV) of your head. All of these procedures use a magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to create detailed images, which our team of sub-specialized physicians will use to distinguish normal, healthy tissue from diseased tissue. The MRA and MRV exams are specifically designed to examine your blood vessels. These exams do not use any radiation, but may require an injection of a contrast material called gadolinium, which is less likely to cause an allergic reaction than iodinated contrast material.
Before Arriving for Your Exam
We encourage patients to utilize the IMI online registration option where you will be able to complete the MRI Screening Questionnaire and the MRI and Pregnancy form (if applicable). This will help speed up your registration process.
If you are claustrophobic (fearful of small, enclosed areas) or experience pain when lying on your back for more than 30 minutes, your referring physician may prescribe a relaxant or pain medication to help you through the exam. Please let the IMI Team know of any concerns upon scheduling your appointment, so we can make certain you have what you need to complete your exam successfully.
We don’t anticipate a long wait time, however we want to make any waiting time as pleasant as possible. Consider bringing your favorite magazine, book or music with headphones to help you pass the time.
- Unless you are told otherwise, take your regular medications as usual.
- Please leave your jewelry and valuables at home.
- You will be asked to wear scrubs during the exam.
Please tell the technologist, radiology nurse and/or imaging physician of any allergies you may have and if you are pregnant or are nursing.
You will be asked to fill out a questionnaire which will determine if an MRI is safe for you. People with various implants (usually metallic), body piercings or with metal in their bodies (including some tattoos) may have difficulty with an MRI – which utilizes a strong magnetic field. The imaging physician needs to be informed of any of these potential problems.
During the Exam
An MRI machine consists of a large cylinder shaped tube with a moveable table that slides into the center of the machine. For this exam, you will be asked to lie down on the scanning table, head-first with arms at your side. Coils (special devices to improve image quality) may be placed around your head. The scanning table will slide your whole body into the magnet.
During the scan you will not feel anything, but will hear intermittent humming, thumping, clicking and knocking sounds. Earplugs will be provided to help mask the noise and to allow you to listen to music. In most cases, the imaging physician requests a contrast agent (dye) to improve the quality of the images. The contrast agent is injected into a vein in the arm, which may cause a cool sensation. As your images are taken, you must hold very still, in some cases, you will be asked to hold your breath. The technologist is always able to see and hear you during the exam.
After Your Exam
There are no restrictions placed upon you. You may eat or drive as normal. Your images will be examined by a radiologist and their report will be sent to your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider will review the results with you.