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Open MRI 

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Sentara provides the open MRI design at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. Great care is taken to ensure patients understand the procedure and feel comfortable during it.  


About Open MRI Scans

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a safe and painless test that provides pictures of organs and structures inside the body.

The open MRI is ideal for larger patients or those who are claustrophobic or elderly. 

Patients can see family members or a friend for support  throughout the exam because of the open design.

Because of the strong magnetic field, It is very important for us to know if you have any metal in your body before your MRI scan is performed.



What is an Open MRI? Open MRI
The patient friendly design of the open MRI allows the patient to see and speak to a family member or friend during the exam to lend support.

The table is wider than closed MRI systems. A more comfortable patient can lead to quicker scans.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a safe and painless test that provides pictures of organs and structures inside the body. It produces images by using a strong magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy.

Tissues and organs that contain water provide the most detailed MRI pictures, while bones and other hard materials in the body do not show up well on MRI pictures. In many cases, MRI provides information that cannot be obtained from X-rays or CT scans.

Information from an MRI scan can be saved and stored on a computer for further study. Images of selected body part views can also be made.

The patient friendly design of the open MRI allows the patient to see and speak to a family member or friend during the exam to lend support.


What can an MRI tell my doctor?

An MRI can be used to evaluate:
The brain and spinal cord, including their blood supplies
Organs of the chest, abdomen and pelvis—including the heart, liver, biliary tract, kidney, spleen and pancreas and adrenal glands.
Pelvic organs including reproductive organs - prostate, testicles, uterus, cervix, ovaries.
Pelvic and hip bones
Breasts

Physicians use the MRI examination to help diagnose or monitor treatment for conditions including:
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
Liver diseases
Conditions involving the bile duct, gallbladder and pancreatic ducts
Breast cancer and implants


How do I prepare for my exam?
Generally, no preparation is necessary for an MRI scan. On rare occasions depending on the type of MRI scan you may be asked not to eat or drink anything before the exam. Please check with your doctor. If your exam is scheduled with sedation, please check with your physician or the department for further instructions.

 It is very important for us to know if you have any metal in your body before your MRI scan is performed. The MRI uses a very strong magnet that may create movement of certain metal objects in your body. This can be very dangerous –  even life-threatening – and may interfere with the scan.

Please let your physician and the MRI staff know if you have any of these devices:
Automatic Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (AICD)
Pacemaker and pacing wires
Mitral or aortic valve replacement
Implanted mechanical or electrical device (i.e. cochlear or stapes ear implant, magnetic dentures, spinal stimulator)
Brain aneurysm clips

Patients can prevent potential delays if they know the make and model of an implanted device.

Also, let your physician know if you are claustrophobic, are pregnant or think you could be pregnant.


How is an MRI performed?
The open design allows your tech to more easily position you for the exam. Once positioned, patients have coils capable of sending and receiving radio waves placed over the area of the body part being imaged.

If a contrast material will be used in the MRI exam, an IV will be set up.

Open MRIPatients are then moved into the magnet of the MRI unit. If a contrast material is used, it will be injected into the intravenous line after an initial series of scans. Additional series of images will be taken following the injection.

During the exam, you will hear a rhythmic tapping sound. This is the normal sound of the magnetic fields as it scans.

MRI exams generally include multiple runs (sequences), some of which may last several minutes. An MRI exam normally takes between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on the part of the body scanned.

MR spectroscopy, which provides additional information on the chemicals present in the body's cells, may also be performed during the MRI.

Some patients may require sedation to complete an MRI exam without moving. Any motion during the exam will degrade image quality.


Are there risks? 
MRI exams don't pose a risk to the average patient. The strong magnetic field is not harmful itself, but some implanted medical devices that contain metal may malfunction or cause problems during an MRI exam. Please talk to your doctor or radiology technologist if you have safety concerns regarding medical or electronic devices in your body.


How will I find out the results?
  
 
Your MRI is interpreted by a subspecialized radiologist, a physician specially trained in reading MRI scans and in other diagnostic imaging tests. The radiologist will prepare a report for your referring physician. You should receive the results from the physician who sent you for your diagnostic study.

Open MRI Locations:
Sentara Norfolk General Hospital

Sources:
Radiologyinfo.org
MedlinePlus


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