Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
The 1.5 magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system at Sterling Regional MedCenter boasts a 1.5 magnet and generates high-resolution images that will help clinicians make a more precise diagnosis and deliver improved imaging services in neurology, orthopedics, body imaging, angiography, oncology and pediatric imaging.
To schedule an appointment please call scheduling at (970) 521-3146.
What is an MRI?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a highly sophisticated test that utilizes a large magnet, radio waves, and a specialized computer system to generate images.
MRI is incredibly effective at illustrating soft-tissue structures that are not demonstrated at all on a regular X-ray. The images are very detailed; even slight abnormalities can be detected. There is also no radiation exposure when undergoing an MRI.
How does it work?
The human body is composed of roughly 80 percent water . The nucleus of a hydrogen atom is a single proton. These protons are 'excited' by radio waves that are emitted by the scanner. Once the radio waves are turned off, the protons 'relax' and generate a signal that is picked up by an antenna and interpreted by the computer system to create the images.
What to expect
The patient is positioned on a movable table for the exam. For most exams, a coil is secured around the area of interest and is centered inside the scanner. The technologist will not be present in the scan room during the test. Communication between the patient and the technologist is performed by using an intercom.
The patient is instructed not to move once imaging has begun, so as not to jeopardize the exam. Loud knocking or tapping noises are heard throughout each sequence until the scan is completed. Earplugs or a headset will be provided to dampen the sound.
An MRI may take anywhere from 15-45 minutes, depending on the type of exam. For some tests, an injection of a contrast material called gadolinium is needed. The purpose of the contrast is to highlight vascular structures, as well as to demonstrate different properties of specific anatomy.
Upon arriving in the MRI department, a questionnaire will be given to the patient. This will inquire about the patient's surgical history, medical history, symptoms, if the patient has any type of implant, and if the patient has ever worked with metal.
If the patient has ever worked with metal, an eye X-ray is taken to screen for foreign metal bodies and then cleared by a radiologist to avoid severe potential risks.
If the patient has a pacemaker or a cochlear implant, then he/she may NOT under any circumstances undergo an MRI.
If you are of child bearing age and think there is any possibility of pregnancy it is important that you inform the physician ordering these x-rays and tell the technologist taking your x-rays. If you have any known allergies to contrast, iodine, or foods please inform your physician BEFORE proceeding with any of the instructions that follow.