What is MRI?
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a technology that uses a powerful magnet to produce a strong magnetic field around the body. This magnetic field causes protons in the body to align with it. Then, radio waves are used to disrupt this effect; when the radio waves are turned off, the MRI sensors detect changes in the protons as they come back into alignment. This information can then be translated into images that depict various structures in the body. Doctors can examine these images in detail on a computer monitor.
What are the benefits of MRI?
Because MRI uses a magnet and radio waves rather than ionizing radiation like X-rays or CT scans, MRI avoids the potential increase in cancer risk associated with radiation exposure. It also can provide information that other imaging tests can’t, particularly when soft tissues and organs are areas of interest.
MRI has many different applications. It’s often used to evaluate issues related to the brain and spinal cord, cardiovascular system, internal organs, bones, and joints. MRI technology is also used as a supplement to mammography, providing more sensitive cancer detection for patients who have dense breast tissue or an elevated risk of breast cancer.
How is wide-bore MRI different?
Wide-bore MRI provides increased spaciousness and quieter operation compared to traditional, closed-bore machines. With an opening that’s 20% larger and ultra-short, wide-bore MRI provides a more open feeling that’s similar to a CT scan. Additionally, more than 80% of exams can be performed feet first, and the machine is significantly quieter than closed-bore machines. These are all great benefits for patients who suffer from claustrophobia or anxiety in an MRI setting. Wide-bore MRI can accommodate patients who weigh up to 500 pounds, providing greater access to this important imaging tool, and scans can be completed more quickly.
Before wide-bore machines were available, providers had to choose between open and closed-bore MRI. While open-bore MRI allowed for greater patient comfort, it couldn’t produce the same high quality images as a closed-bore machine. Wide-bore MRI is able to obtain superior quality images in a more comfortable patient setting.
MRI at Iowa Radiology
At Iowa Radiology, compassionate patient care is at the core of our practice. We understand that MRI can be an anxiety-provoking experience for many people. That’s why we use wide-bore machines for all MRI exams. We also have music headsets and blankets available to help our patients be as comfortable as possible during their procedures. If you have questions or concerns before the exam, our knowledgeable team will take the time to answer them and put you at ease.
If you’re anticipating an MRI, plan for your clinic visit to take 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the type of scan. Scan time can vary between 20 and 45 minutes. If your MRI exam requires contrast, it will be injected into a vein in your arm after you lie down on the scanning table. The machine makes a quick tapping noise as it operates. You’ll be asked to lie as still as possible during imaging to ensure the best possible image quality.
To learn more about MRI, click below to access our free ebook guide.
Benefits of Wide-Bore MRI. ITonline.com. https://www.itnonline.com/article/benefits-wide-bore-mri. Published November 3, 2013. Accessed July 29, 2021.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)—Body. Radiologyinfo.com. https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info/bodymr. Reviewed June 18, 2018. Accessed July 29, 2021.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). NIH.gov. https://www.nibib.nih.gov/science-education/science-topics/magnetic-resonance-imaging-mri. Published May 4, 2013. Accessed July 29, 2021.
MRI. MayoClinic.org. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/mri/about/pac-20384768. Updated August 23, 2019. Accessed July 29, 2021.