Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is used to get a clear picture of internal organs and other structures in the body. Unlike X-rays (which rarely pass through bony structures), MRI scanners provide clear images inside bone structures, as well as soft-tissue structures like muscles and blood vessels. MRI is designed for optimized visualization and helps physicians diagnose cancer, stroke, heart problems, vascular disorders and other conditions.
The MRI department at Lawrence Memorial Hospital offers a variety of imaging procedures, including:
- Magnetic Resonance Angiogram (MRA) for visualization of blood vessels
- Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP)
- Diffusion imaging for acute strokes
- Multiplaner and 3D imaging
While most types of scanners use radiation technology to capture images, MRI sends radio waves and evaluates responses from various tissues. After responses are gathered, MRI technology digitally processes those responses into pictures.
Some patients need an MRA rather than an MRI - the only difference between the two is that MRA helps physicians look closely at vessels, while MRIs help physicians see all other tissue. MRAs and MRIs are performed with the same machine, and there is no difference in the procedures.
What to Expect During an MRI
In some cases, patients are injected with a substance known as a contrast agent, which changes the blood's magnetic property, slows down its reaction and makes it appear brighter on the images. The contrast agent is given only to patients who are having certain procedures.
All patients are asked to check in 30 minutes prior to the exam. An MRI study generally takes 15 to 45 minutes, although not all of that time is needed for recording pictures. Depending on the type of study being performed, all patients are given the option of music or hearing protection. Patients also have the choice of being escorted by a guest to the MRI room. Due to noise levels, bringing children is not recommended.
With a physician's request, claustrophobic patients or patients with severe pain can prearrange IV conscious sedation. However, many of our patients who required sedation with older MRI technology have not required sedation with our current MRI scanner.
Two Convenient Locations
LMH offers MRI services at two locations: our main hospital campus and LMH South. The Open Bore MRI at our main location is much larger than a traditional MRI machine, making it more suitable for larger patients as well as those who experience claustrophobia in confined spaces. The Open MRI at LMH South has open sides, which makes it appropriate for children and patients who would like to see their friends and family during the procedure.
Call for an Appointment
MRI services are available Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 785-505-6180 for an appointment.
After an MRI, you will receive two bills. The hospital will bill you for the procedure, as will the radiologist who reads the exam. The report from the radiologist will be sent to your physician. If you have any questions, you can call the radiology department at 785-505-6194.