Magnetic Resonance Imaging machineMRI Scan

What Is MRI?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a procedure in which radio waves and a powerful magnet linked to a computer are used to create detailed pictures of areas inside the body. The MRI scanning is non-invasive and uses magnetic and radio waves, meaning that there is no exposure to X-rays or any other damaging forms of radiation. It is designed to image internal structures of the body. It can be used for soft tissues such as the spine and the brain. These pictures can show the difference between normal and diseased tissue. There are no known dangers or side effects connected to an MRI scan. The test is not painful so you cannot feel it while having your exam.

What We Offer in MRI Imaging

Our Radiologists are board certified in Body Imaging, Neuro-Radiology, Musculoskeletal and Vascular/Interventional Radiology. At Kimball Medical Center we offer highly advanced technology, Siemens 1.5 Tesla that produces particularly clear pictures. Some of the services we provide include the following:

MRI Scanning Can Be Used to Diagnose:

  • Brain MRI: An MRI of the brain produces very detailed pictures of the brain. It is commonly used to study patients with headaches, seizures, weakness, blurry vision, etc. It also can further evaluate an abnormality seen on a CT scan.
  • Spine MRI: This test is most commonly used to look for a herniated disc or narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis) in patients with neck, arm, back and/or leg pain. It is also the best test to look for a recurrent disc herniation in a patient who has had prior back surgery.
  • Bone and Joint MRI: MRI can evaluate virtually all of the bones and joints, as well as the soft tissues. Tendon, ligament, muscle, cartilage and bone injuries can be diagnosed using MRI scans. It can also be used to look for infections and masses.
  • Abdomen MRI: MRI of the abdomen is most frequently used to further evaluate an abnormality seen on another test, such as an ultrasound or CT scan. Thus, the exam is usually tailored to look at specific organs or tissues, such as the liver, adrenal glands or pancreas.
  • Pelvic MRI: For women, pelvic MRI is used to evaluate the ovaries and uterus as follow-up to an ultrasound exam which showed an abnormality. It is also used to evaluate endometrial cancer. For men, pelvic MRI is sometimes used to evaluate prostate cancer.
  • MR Angiography (MRA): An MRA evaluates blood vessels. The blood vessels in the neck (carotid and vertebral arteries) and brain are frequently studied by MRA to look for areas of narrowing or dilatation. In the abdomen the arteries supplying blood to the kidneys are also frequently examined with this technique.
  • MRCP (magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography) is also used to replace traditional endoscope for the detection of biliary disease.


Preparing for an MRI scan is very easy. You can take all your normal medications and follow usual eating schedules unless your doctor gives you special instructions. The only unusual preparation for an MRI scan is that all removable metallic objects must be left outside the scanning room, including removable hearing aids, dentures and other prosthetic devices. Credit cards cannot be brought into the scanner room since the magnetic codes on them can be affected by the magnet.

For optimal image quality when performing head scans, all makeup must be removed since it may contain metallic powders that are magnetic and degrade image quality. You may be asked to wear a hospital gown, since clothes may have metallic fasteners or metallic fibers that can interfere with the imaging. All patients are screened prior to their test by the technologist. Ear protection is always provided prior to the exam to reduce the noise level during scanning. You may bring your favorite CD to listen to during your exam or if you would prefer the MRI technologist can provide the choice from a variety of music selection available.

What Do You Screen for Prior to Having an MRI?

Besides complete information about your medical history, your doctor and the MRI staff must know if you have any metal in your body which cannot be removed, including: pacemakers, implanted insulin pumps, aneurysm clips, vascular coils and filters, heart valves, ear implants, surgical staples and wires, shrapnel, bone or joint replacements, metal plates, rods, pins or screws, contraceptive diaphragms or coils, penile implants, and permanent dentures. In most cases, you can be scanned even though you have metal implants. Nevertheless, the radiologist and MRI staff must be aware of them prior to your exam. Also, tell a member of the staff if you are pregnant or if there is a possibility you are pregnant.

How Long Will the MRI Exam Take?

Once the patient is setup and positioned on the table, depending on the exam, it can take anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour. It may take more time if the exam requires an intravenous injection or if multiple areas are being imaged during the procedure.

What to Expect During the Exam

Depending on the exam and what your ordering physician is requesting you may be given an intravenous injection also known as a contrast injection (Omniscan) during the procedure. At this time, there are no known significant side effects with the injection.

Do I Have to Lie Still When I Have an MRI?

Yes, it is important to minimize movement in order to achieve the best imaging results.

Getting Your Results

Your MRI images will be analyzed by a radiologist, a physician who specializes in MRI testing. The radiologist will send a signed report which includes an interpretation of the image to your primary physician. Your physician will receive your results soon after. At MMCSC we also offer our patients a free copy of their exam on CD to share with their physicians.

Our Team of Specialists

All MRI exams are interpreted by a board certified radiologists with subspecialty training in MRI procedures.