What is Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a test that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of organs and structures inside the body. In many cases MRI gives different information about structures in the body than can be seen with an X-ray, ultrasound, or computed tomography (CT) scan. MRI also may show problems that cannot be seen with other imaging methods.
For an MRI test, the area of the body being studied is placed inside a special machine that contains a strong magnet. Pictures from an MRI scan are digital images that can be saved and stored on a computer for more study. The images also can be reviewed remotely, such as in a clinic or an operating room. In some cases, contrast material may be used during the MRI scan to show certain structures more clearly.
Why is it Done?
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is done for many reasons. It is used to find problems such as tumors, bleeding, injury, blood vessel diseases, or infection. MRI also may be done to provide more information about a problem seen on an X-ray, ultrasound scan, or CT scan. Contrast material may be used during MRI to show abnormal tissue more clearly. An MRI scan can be done for the:
• Head. MRI can look at the brain for tumors, an aneurysm, bleeding in the brain, nerve injury, and other problems, such as damage caused by a stroke. MRI can also find problems of the eyes and optic nerves, and the ears and auditory nerves.
• Chest. MRI of the chest can look at the heart, the valves, and coronary blood vessels. It can show if the heart or lungs are damaged. MRI of the chest may also be used to look for breast or lung cancer.
• Blood vessels. Using MRI to look at blood vessels and the flow of blood through them is called magnetic resonance angiography (MRA). It can find problems of the arteries and veins, such as an aneurysm, a blocked blood vessel, or the torn lining of a blood vessel (dissection). Sometimes contrast material is used to see the blood vessels more clearly.
• Abdomen and pelvis. MRI can find problems in the organs and structures in the belly, such as the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, kidneys, and bladder. It is used to find tumors, bleeding, infection, and blockage. In women, it can look at the uterus and ovaries. In men, it looks at the prostate.
• Bones and joints. MRI can check for problems of the bones and joints, such as arthritis, problems with the temporomandibular joint, bone marrow problems, bone tumors, cartilage problems, torn ligaments or tendons, or infection. MRI may also be used to tell if a bone is broken when X-ray results are not clear. MRI is done more commonly than other tests to check for some bone and joint problems.
• Spine. MRI can check the discs and nerves of the spine for conditions such as spinal stenosis, disc bulges, and spinal tumors
How is it Done
A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test is usually done by an MRI technologist. The pictures are usually interpreted by a radiologist. You will need to remove all metal objects (such as hearing aids, dentures, jewelry, watches, and hairpins) from your body because these objects may be attracted to the powerful magnet used for the test.Inside the scanner you may hear tapping or snapping noises as the MRI scans are taken. You may be given earplugs or headphones with music to reduce the noise. It is very important to hold completely still while the scan is being done. You may be asked to hold your breath for short periods of time.
During the test, you may be alone in the scanner room. But the technologist will watch you through a window. You will be able to talk with the technologist through a two-way intercom.
If contrast material is needed, the technologist will put it in an intravenous (IV) line in your arm. The material may be given over 1 to 2 minutes. Then more MRI scans are done.
An MRI test usually takes 30 to 60 minutes but can take as long as 2 hours.
There are no known harmful effects from the strong magnetic field used for MRI. But the magnet is very powerful. The magnet may affect pacemakers, artificial limbs, and other medical devices that contain iron. The magnet will stop a watch that is close to the magnet. Any loose metal object has the risk of causing damage or injury if it gets pulled toward the strong magnet. Metal parts in the eyes can damage the retina. If you may have metal fragments in the eye, an X-ray of the eyes may be done before the MRI. If metal is found, the MRI will not be done. Iron pigments in tattoos or tattooed eyeliner can cause skin or eye irritation. An MRI can cause a burn with some medication patches. Be sure to tell your health professional if you are wearing a patch. There is a slight risk of an allergic reaction if contrast material is used during the MRI. But most reactions are mild and can be treated using medicine. There also is a slight risk of an infection at the IV site.
Our proven technology has been shown to be exceptionally safe over many years of use. If you’d like to learn more about how we keep you safe, please click here.
A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a test that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of organs and structures inside the body. The radiologist may discuss initial results of the MRI with you right after the test. Complete results are usually ready for your doctor in 1 to 2 days. An MRI can sometimes find a problem in a tissue or organ even when the size and shape of the tissue or organ looks normal.
How do I Get My Results
The images of your exam will be read by either one of our contracted radiologists or the radiologist specified by your physician. The radiologist’s report is generally available within 24 hours and your doctor will then discuss the findings with you.
Can I Receive Copies of my MRI Files and Reports
Upon your request, your films and reports are available for you to pick up. Please contact us at a location near you.
Can I Bring a Friend?
Yes. Please feel free to bring a friend or family member — note that he or she must be screened for conditions that would prevent him or her from joining you in the scan room.
What if I Need to Cancel My Appointment
Please call us with cancellations at least one day in advance, or submit a cancellation on our reservation and booking page.
We do charge a $25.00 cancellation fee for no show patients.
What if I’m Claustrophobic
Well, then you’ve found the perfect place to get your MRI. There is nothing directly in front of the patient’s face to cause a “closed-in” feeling. Highly claustrophobic patients who were unable to tolerate other MRI scanners, including some “open” MRIs, have traveled hundreds of miles to be scanned in a Stand-Up™ MRI. In addition, the Stand-Up™ MRI is unusually quiet. Patients can comfortably sit and watch their favorite TV program on a big screen TV or listen to comforting music.
What is a Deductible and How Does it Work
A deductible is the amount of money that must be paid by the patient before your insurance carrier will begin considering charges for payment. Until the deductible has been fully satisfied (paid) by the patient, the insurance carrier will not pay for any claims.
What is a Copayment/Co-Insurance
Copayment is a set dollar amount that is due per visit based on your insurance plan. Co-insurance is a percentage amount due, based on allowed charges. The co-insurance amount will vary based on the charges submitted and reimbursement allowed by your carrier.
What is an Explanation of Benefits
An Explanation of Benefits or EOB, is the insurance carrier’s method of explaining what was charged, by whom, how much was paid, and how much is owed, if anything, by the patient. Both the patient and the provider of services will receive an EOB.
Every insurance carrier determines the maximum amount of money payable for a specific procedure. This amount is designated as “allowable” or “usual and customary” on your Explanation of Benefits. Reimbursement by the carrier and patient responsibility, if any, is based on this pre-determined amount.
How Long Before Payment is Made on My Claim
In most instances, payment is made on claims within 30-45 days. Even though the patient receives their Explanation of Benefits within 7-10 days, the carrier may not release payment for several more days. There are also some carriers who will take longer than 45 days to process and pay claims.
How Often Will I Receive a Bill
Patient statements are mailed monthly.
Why do You Pre-Collect Patient Financial Responsibilities?
Insurance carriers require that we make every attempt to collect any designated patient responsibility (deductibles, copayments, co-insurances). This amount is based on benefits quoted by your insurance carrier at the time of service.
Can I Make Payment Arrangements / What is the Minimum I Can Pay Each Month
Yes, payment arrangements are accepted. Minimum amounts are determined on a case by case basis.
Why Isn’t My Insurance Provider Paying the Claim
There are many reasons why a carrier may not pay a claim. Please review any correspondence you receive from your insurance carrier and complete any forms included with the correspondence. Failure to complete these forms may result in denial of our claim. If this happens, the charges may become patient responsibility. Please contact our billing office with any questions you may have.
What are My Payment Options
You may pay in cash, by check, or credit card. We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. Payment can be made at the clinic, over the phone or via our website.