High Field MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
Dalton Imaging Center performs exams using an High Field MRI scanner,
which is preferred by most patients. The openness of the MRI unit
allows us to scan even claustrophobic patients. We designed our
suite in a spacious room complete with windows allowing
patients to look outside during most exams. Our Toshiba Atlas unit, which
is fully accredited by the American College of Radiology, exceeds
the standards set by the ACR for all magnetic imaging scanners.
Dalton Imaging Center, MRI patients are escorted from the lobby
to the MRI suite and screened for possible safety hazards. The patient
answers a series of questions and is checked for metal in his or
her clothing. If a patient’s clothing contains metal, he or
she is asked to put on comfortable scrubs for the procedure.
is Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)?
MRI is a highly advanced testing procedure that allows physicians
to visualize inside the body without the use of surgery or exposure
to X-ray radiation. Using a strong magnetic field combined with
radio waves, a computer generates 3-D images of soft tissues and
organs within the body.
is a MRI Necessary?
Because MRI can give such detailed pictures of soft-tissue structures
near and around bones, it is extremely useful for spinal and joint
problems. MRI is also effective in the clinical evaluation of the
• brain disorders
• traumatic injuries
• eye abnormalities
• tumor detection
• liver and other abdominal diseases
• facial / neck abnormalities
• blood flow and vessel disorders
• evaluation of soft tissue masses
• spinal disorders
• joint problems
• sports - related injuries:
do I prepare for my MRI?
Wear loose, comfortable clothing without metal buttons or zippers
should I expect during my exam?
The MRI procedure is completely painless, although some exams do
require an intravenous contrast injection. The part of the body
to be imaged will be placed at the center of the magnet. You will
hear some tapping noises and will be asked to hold very still during
your exam. Some patients relax and find that they fall asleep during
their exam. Most procedures take approximately 30 to 45 minutes
am very claustrophobic; can I still have a MRI?
Yes, most patients find our MRI unit very relaxing. For severe cases of claustrophobia, sedation can be administered
during the exam. In that case, another person must be available
to drive you home after the exam.
I have a MRI during pregnancy?
A MRI can be performed during pregnancy if it is deemed to be medically
necessary by your physician. At this point, there are no known biological
hazards associated with MRI at the current levels of exposure. However,
due to MRI’s limited use on pregnant patients and limited
documentation on use, especially during the first trimester, it
will be necessary to sign a consent form. Please inform the technologist
if there is any chance that you are pregnant.
I have a MRI scan when I am breastfeeding?
If you have had contrast as part of your MRI exam, please suspend
nursing for 24 hours after the scan. But if no contrast was used
during the exam, you may resume breast feeding immediately.
can I receive my results?
Your results will be faxed to your doctor’s office the same
day as your exam. A radiologist is available to tailor the exam
and discuss any concerns you may have. Dalton Imaging Center will
also provide you with a CD of the digital exam for you to your doctor’s office.
Because Dalton Imaging Center recognizes that tests and other medical
procedures can be unsettling at times, we make every effort to answer
any questions related to testing procedures at the time of the exam.
Contraindications to MRI
MRI is a very safe examination for most patients. However, patients
with cardiac pacemakers, battery packs and aneurysm clips in the
brain may or may not be candidates for MRI scans. Possible alternatives to
MRI may include CT or Ultrasound.
If you need a MRI and have a pacemaker or aneurysm clips, or if
you have any questions about metal or implantable devices and MRI
safety, please call Dalton Imaging Center at 706-278-XRAY
Contrast enhancement is extremely valuable in evaluating many disease
processes, including tumors, inflammations and infections. Therefore
it is sometimes necessary to selectively enhance pathology by administering
an IV contrast agent called Gadolinium. Gadolinium is a paramagnetic
substance that is very safe to use.
To image the brain, the patient’s head is placed within the
head coil and adjusted so that it is as straight and comfortable
as possible. The table is moved so that the coil is in the center
of the magnetic field. The patient is instructed to hold very still.
A routine brain scan is performed in two parts. The second half
of the scan is performed after the patient is given a venous injection
of MRI contrast called Gadolinium. A routine brain exam will take
approximately 30 minutes.
Lumbar Spine (lower back)
For a MRI of the lower back, the patient is placed on the examination
table with knees elevated over a foam cushion for comfort. The lumbar
coil is wrapped around the lower back area and then positioned in
the center of the magnetic field. During this exam the patient may
turn their head to look out the window. The average scan time for
a lumbar spine is 30 minutes.
Cervical Spine (neck)
In order to image the cervical spine, a coil (similar to a collar)
must be placed around the neck area. The table is positioned so
that the patient’s neck is in the center of the magnetic field.
He or she is then asked to hold very still during the scan and to
swallow as little as possible. Expect the exam to take 40-45 minutes.
For a knee MRI, the knee is placed in the extremity coil in a relaxed
position with the patient lying comfortably supine. The knee is
immobilized with pads and positioned in the center of the magnetic
field. He or she is then instructed to relax and leave their leg
is this position but they can turn their head to look out the window.
Expect this exam to take approximately 45 minutes.
For an exam of the shoulder, the patient in a comfortable position
with a coil placed around the shoulder and positioned in the center
of the magnetic field. The patient is instructed to relax but to
hold very still. They will still be able to turn their head and
look out of the many windows in the room. This exam will take approximately
45 minutes to complete.
Vascular Imaging - MRA (Magnetic Resonance Angiography)
MRA is basically just an MRI scan to look at the blood vessels in
the body. It is performed the same way as an MRI.
• Evaluation of the carotid arteries of the neck, especially
at the bifurcation.
• Intracranial vascular assessment of aneurysms.
• Arterio-venous malformation (AVM)
• Intracranial vessel occlusion.
• Abdominal aneurysms.
• Renal artery stenosis.
• Peripheral vascular disease.
Some vascular scans can be done without the use of contrast while
others are best imaged with the dynamic injection of a contrast