What is an MRI?

Diagnostic Imaging / What is an MRI?

 

MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, is a means of “seeing” inside of the body in order for doctors to find certain diseases or abnormal conditions.

MRI does not rely on any type of radiation (i.e., ionizing radiation) like that used for an x-ray or CT scan. The MRI examination requires specialized equipment that uses a powerful, constant magnetic field, radiofrequency energy, and dedicated equipment including a powerful computer to create very clear pictures of internal body structures.

Patient Preparation Instructions

  • You must hold very still for your MRI exam, and it will take from 20 minutes to an hour per exam.
  • You may eat or drink before receiving MRI Contrast.
  • You must not eat or drink anything for 6-8 hours before an MRCP, but that exam does not require contrast.
  • MRI contrast (gadolinium) is iron based.  If you are allergic to CT contrast (Iodine based) you are most likely not allergic to MRI contrast.
     

We routinely draw lab work to test kidney function in MRI patients who:

  • Are are 60 or older
  • Are diabetic
  • Have high blood pressure requiring medical therapy
  • Have a personal history of kidney disease or renal failure
  • Have a personal history of liver disease
     

If your MRI exam is ordered with IV Contrast and you meet any of these criteria, please arrive 45 minutes before the scheduled appointment time to complete this lab work.  This will help to expedite the completion of your exam.  If you have none of these indicators, please arrive 30 minutes before the scheduled appointment time for registration.

*Power PICCs and Power ports can be used for the injection of IV Contrast.  These patients must bring verification that the port is a Power PICC or Power Port

KCH has 2 MRI scanners available to patients.

(See the photo to the top right.) The first image is our Closed (Standard Bore) MRI, located in the main hospital.

(Click the arrow to see the second photo) The second image is our Open MRI, which is located in the Knox Medical Pavilion.

Noteworthy:

Please make sure that you know which scanner your exam is scheduled on and arrive at the appropriate location for your scan.  This will help us to stay on schedule and expedite the completion of your exam.

Please arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled exam time to register.  This will help us to stay on schedule.

MRI Safety

Not all patients are candidates for MRI procedures.

Patients with free pieces of ferrous metal stuck under their skin or in their eyes must be cleared by a radiologist before having an MRI procedure.

Patients with Pacemakers, or implanted pacemaker wires, defibrillators, metal heart valves, implanted pumps or stimulators, brain aneurysm clips, CSF shunts, and cochlear implants should not have an MRI.
Joint replacements and other orthopedic hardware are generally titanium and are not magnetic.  Most dental fillings and hardware are made of stainless steel, gold or silver and are not magnetic, so dental fillings are generally ok also.

Many implanted devices are MRI conditional, which means they are safe for MRI procedures if certain conditions are met.  Please bring product information for any metal implanted medical device with you to your MRI appointment.  Implant safety should be verified with an MRI Technologist at 740.393.9037 (KCH) or 740.393.5532 (KMP).

These are preparation guidelines for imaging exams performed at Knox Community Hospital (KCH).  If you have any questions regarding prep for your exam, please contact us at 740.393.9038.

Main Care or Service Page: 
Diagnostic Imaging
Sub-Care Page A