Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a safe and painless test that provides pictures of organs and structures inside the body. It produces these images by using a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy. In many cases, MRI provides information that cannot be obtained from X-ray tests.
Our MRI unit has a comfortable design. We can complete patient examinations quickly because of the higher power the machine provides. The magnet itself is lighted and open on both ends. It can accommodate patients up to 400 pounds.
An MRI can be used to evaluate:
The brain and spinal cord, including their blood supplies (via MRA)
Organs of the chest, abdomen and pelvis—including the heart, liver, biliary tract, kidney, spleen, and pancreas and adrenal glands.
Pelvic organs including the reproductive organs in the male (prostate and testicles) and the female (uterus, cervix and ovaries).
Pelvic and hip bones.
Physicians use the MRI examination to help diagnose or monitor treatment for conditions such as:
Stroke, headache, memory loss/dementia, seizures, multiple sclerosis,spine disorders and other diseases of the nervous system
Tumors of the chest, abdomen or pelvis
Coronary artery disease and heart problems
Causes of pelvic pain in women, such as endometriosis
Diseases of the liver
Conditions involving the bile duct, gallbladder and pancreatic ducts (MRCP)
Breast cancer and implants
Are there risks?
The MRI examination poses almost no risk to the average patient when appropriate safety guidelines are followed. Although the strong magnetic field is not harmful in itself, medical devices that contain metal may malfunction or cause problems during an MRI exam.
Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center
Radiology and Imaging Department
Appointments: (703) 523-1560