Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
195 Little Albany Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08903-2681
Magnetic resonance imaging, commonly known as MRI, helps doctors find, watch, and treat medical problems.
MRI uses very strong magnets, radio waves, and a computer to make pictures of the inside of the body.
MRI pictures are more detailed than those made with other methods.
There are many reasons to have MRI. MRI may find: bleeding such as bleeding in the brain,
brain changes, as in stroke, problems with your back, such as a herniated disk;
and an injury inside the body such as a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Before MRI, you will remove all metal objects.
And, it’s not safe to have MRI with some medical implants.
You should tell the MRI technologist about any metal, device, or implant you may have in your body, such as a pacemaker.
To prepare for MRI, you will lie on a table just outside the scanner.
MRI scanners are very noisy, so you will probably wear ear plugs or headphones.
Different equipment, such as pillows and straps, will help you stay in the correct position.
Once you’re ready, the table will slide into the scanner.
Most often, closed scanners, such as this one, are used. The area inside is very narrow.
In some areas, open scanners are available.
This scanner is open on the sides, so you won’t be completely surrounded by the machine.
However, the pictures may not be as good as with closed scanners.
For either type of scanner, a technologist will operate it from the next room.
You will be able to talk to each other through a two-way speaker.
During the scan, magnets in the machine will create a strong magnetic field. This will not harm you.
Then, the scanner will send radio waves through your body. This will not harm you.
When the radio waves are turned off, the scanner will pick up energy signals from your body.
These signals are used to make the pictures.
During the scan, you will have to stay very still so the images will be clear.
You may be asked to hold your breath for a short time.
MRIs may take thirty to forty-five minutes, or longer, to complete.
In some cases, you may get contrast dye with your MRI.
The dye helps make clearer pictures. After the MRI, you can resume your normal activities.
If you received contrast dye, the technologist may ask you to drink plenty of water or other healthy drinks to help your kidneys remove the dye from your body.