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MRI Services (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is used to get a clear picture of internal organs and other structures in the body. Unlike X-rays, which cannot evaluate soft tissues, tendons or ligaments, MRI scanners provide clear images inside bone structures as well as soft-tissue structures like muscles and blood vessels. It is designed for visualization and diagnosis of cancer, diabetes, stroke, heart and vascular disorders.

The MRI department offers a variety of imaging procedures, including:

  • 3D imaging
  • Abdominal and pelvis
  • Breast
  • Chest
  • Head and brain
  • Extremities
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiogram (MRA)for visualization of blood vessels
  • Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography (MRCP)
  • Magnetic Resonance Enterography
  • Spine
  • Urinary system

The Open Bore MRI at our main location is much larger than a traditional MRI machine and is suitable for bigger and claustrophobic patients. Scheduling hours are 6:30 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday.

What to expect during a MRI scan

While most types of scanners use radiation technology to capture images, the MRI sends radio waves and then evaluates the response from the various tissues. After the responses are gathered, a computer in the MRI scanner processes them into pictures. 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 is given only to patients who are having certain procedures.

The only difference between MRA and MRI is that MRA is done to visualize vessels and MRI to visualize all other tissue. The exams are still performed with the same machine and there is no difference in the procedures. All patients are asked to check in 30 minutes prior to their exam. An MRI study generally takes 15 to 45 minutes although only a fraction of that time is needed for recording pictures.

Other things to consider

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 friend or family member to the MRI room. The presence of children is not recommended due to noise levels.

With a physician’s request, claustrophobic patients or patients with severe pain could arrange IV conscious sedation by calling a radiology nurse at 785-505-2562. However, many of our patients who have required sedation in the past have not required any with the new scanner at LMH.

Many pacemakers and most orthopedic hardware can now be safely scanned under certain conditions. Please contact the MRI department at 785-505-6180 to verify if you have a device that can be safely scanned.

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