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 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.

At 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.

What 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.

Why 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 following conditions:

• brain disorders
• traumatic injuries
• eye abnormalities
• tumor detection
• liver and other abdominal diseases
• facial / neck abnormalities
• infection
• blood flow and vessel disorders
• evaluation of soft tissue masses
• spinal disorders
• joint problems
• sports - related injuries:

• spine
• knee
• ankles
• hip
• shoulder
• elbow
• wrist

How do I prepare for my MRI?
Wear loose, comfortable clothing without metal buttons or zippers if possible.

What 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 to complete.

I 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.

Can 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.

May 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.

When 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 (9729).

MRI Contrast Agents
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.

MRI Brain
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.

MRI 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.

MRI 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.

MRI Knee
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.

MRI Shoulder
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.
Common Indications:

• 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 agent.


 

 

 
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