Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Our specially trained technologists are committed to providing quality testing for patients, along with compassionate, excellent service.

Now offering expanded MRI hours to better serve our patients! MRI exams can be scheduled: Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.. To schedule an appointment, call 815-942-4105.

What is Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)?

MRI is a type of imaging technique that provides valuable information to your physician.  Most people are familiar with the use of x-rays to obtain images, but MRI is different:  It uses no x-rays, but rather your body’s natural magnetic field to produce images.  Special equipment including a computer, a large, powerful magnet and radio waves piece together information about the body’s tissues and structures based on the natural magnetic fields emitted by the body.  MRI may be used in addition to or along with x-rays or CAT scanning to help diagnose and treat your symptoms.

What MRI System is Used at Morris Hospital?

In 2011, Morris Hospital upgraded its MRI system to the 1.5T Vantage Titan.  Along with superior image quality, here are some other enhanced features of Morris Hospital’s $1.3 million MRI system:

  • The bore opening is 18 percent larger than other 1.5T systems. In fact, it offers up to 100% more clearance from nose to magnet than systems that label themselves as “open” MRIs. The more spacious environment is particularly important for claustrophobic patients.
  • 70 percent of studies can be performed feet first, with the patient’s head comfortably lying outside of the bore.
  • MRI exams can be noisy. Morris Hospital’s new MRI reduces noise levels by 90 percent through Pianissimo technology. This enables patients to relax more easily, which is important because patients have to remain motionless during MRI exams.
  • The table on the new system can support patients up to 450 lbs. It also features built-in arm rests to improve patient comfort and it lowers to less than 17 inches from the ground, offering easier access for children and seniors.
  • Exam time is generally reduced to about 30 minutes on average, compared to 45 minutes with Morris Hospital’s previous system.
  • As a result of the superior image quality, Morris Hospital now offers advanced MR angiography studies of the vascular system, many which can be performed without using contrast agents.
What is Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA)?

Who would ever have thought that physicians would be able to clearly visualize a patient’s arteries from head to toe, without the patient ever receiving an incision, a poke from an IV, an injection of contrast, or medication to help them relax? That’s exactly what’s happening at Morris Hospital since the addition of the 1.5T Vantage Titan MRI. Physicians can see how blood is flowing through the vessels in the neck, legs, arms, feet, hands, head and abdomen with greater clarity than ever. At Morris Hospital, MRA studies can be done to check for blockages in the carotid artery that supply blood to the brain; brain aneurysm; bulges or aneurysms in the aorta, abdomen or other arteries; narrowing in the arteries of the legs, arms, feet or hands; disease in the arteries leading to the kidneys.

What is Breast MRI?

Breast MRI uses radio waves and magnetic fields instead of x-rays to produce very detailed, cross-sectional images of the breast. While it doesn’t replace mammography, the American Cancer Society does recommend screening with MRI and mammography for most high risk women beginning at age 30. In addition, breast MRI is often used to screen young women with very dense breasts, women or men who test positive for BRCA1 or BRCA2 (breast cancer susceptibility genes), as well as women with palpable lumps that can’t be detected on a mammogram or ultrasound. For women who are diagnosed with cancer, breast MRI may be used to assist the doctor in treatment planning or to check the opposite breast for tumors.An injection of contrast is necessary for most breast MRI scans. If a breast MRI detects an area of concern, a patient may undergo an MRI-guided breast biopsy.

What is it like to have an MRI?

An MRI is painless.  The individual who will perform the MRI study is known as a Radiologic Technologist.  He or she has completed a rigorous course in Radiologic Technology and additional training in MRI imaging. You will be asked to complete a screening form prior to your exam.  The technologist will have you change into a gown, if necessary, put your personal belongings in a secure locker, and then assist you onto the examination table. MRI scanning is performed with you lying on a padded table that moves through a donut hole-like opening in the MRI unit.  The part to be imaged must be in the center of the MRI scanner.  This area may seem close for some patients.  If you are claustrophobic you may need to talk to your ordering physician about sedative options.  You must relax and lie still during scanning.  A headset can be used so you can listen to music during the scan.  If you like you may bring your favorite CD from home.  (There are certain exams for which the headset can not be used.) During MRI exams, loud tapping noises can be heard.  These sounds are normal and occur while the scanner is operating.  The MRI system at Morris Hospital uses Pianissimo technology, thereby reducing noise by 90%. Some MRI scans are performed after the injection of an intravenous contrast into a vein in your arm.  The contrast is a solution that highlights certain tissues on the images, which may provide additional information to the Radiologist when analyzing the tissues and organs.  When the exam is complete, the table will slide out of the MRI unit.

A Word about Metallic Objects and MRI

Because of the way MRI works, certain metallic objects cannot be present in the MRI unit.  While we will have you remove jewelry, medication patches, and other metallic objects before entering the scanner, you may still have metal inside your body. Examples include: a pacemaker, joint or bone pins or metal plates, unremovable bullets, shrapnel or BB shot, inner ear implants, aneurysm clips, surgical clips, or stents, metal fragments from welding. Some metals, even some of those items listed above, don’t present a problem for scanning.  However, due to the potential consequences, it is critical to know about ANY metal objects inside your body prior to having an MRI.  Again it is to be stressed, the strength of the magnet is very powerful and it is vital that any and all information concerning metallic objects is discussed with the technologist prior to entering the MRI magnet room.

How do I prepare for the exam?

Generally, there are no special preparations prior to an MRI exam.

How long will the exam take?

Most MRI’s take about 45-60 minutes for each body part imaged.

Following the exam:

You should have no discomfort or pain from this exam.  You may return to your normal daily activities unless otherwise instructed.

Exam results:

A Radiologist will study the images and a typed report will be sent to your designated health care provider.

Special note:

Women should always inform their health care provider or technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.

If you should have any questions regarding this procedure, please call 815-942-2932 ext. 7130.

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