Many patients have questions before undergoing an MRI exam.

Here are answers to the most common questions.

What is MRI?

MRI is short for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. MRI is an advanced technology that lets your doctor see internal organs, blood vessels, muscles, joints, tumors, areas of infection, and is useful in evaluation of back pain, knee pain, shoulder pain and chronic pain – with unexcelled clarity without the use of x-rays, surgery, or pain. MRI is very safe; in fact, it makes use of natural forces and has no known harmful effects. It's important to know that MRI will not expose you to any harmful radiation.

Why an MRI?

MRI can provide very early detection of many conditions, so treatment can be more effective, accurate and rapid. The excellent quality of MRI images can also provide the best possible information if surgery is required. If there is an abnormality, MRI can show exactly where it is, its size and what tissues are involved.

How long are wait times? When can I get an appointment?

Wait times are 1-2 weeks for an appointment. Call today for availability!

How should I get ready for the exam?

In most cases, you can just stick with your normal, everyday routine - no special preparation is needed. You can eat and drink your usual diet, work, or play sports, and take any prescription medications you need. However, there may be some circumstances in which you'll be given specific instructions to follow before the exam. These will be given to you by your doctor, or by our clinic staff at the time the MRI is scheduled.

When you arrive for your exam, you will be asked to change into a gown or scrubs that we will provide for your comfort and convenience during the examination. 

Are there any restrictions with the exam?

Yes. Because the MRI machine uses a strong magnetic field, which will move objects made with iron or steel, let our MRI technologist know if you have:

  • A pacemaker
  • Aneurysm clips
  • Cochlear implants
  • A neuro-stimulator (Tens-unit)
  • Metal implants
  • Steel surgical staples or clips
  • An implanted drug infusion device
  • Any implant made partially or wholly of iron or steel

Also, if you're pregnant, let the technologist know.

Even metal objects not made of iron or steel can interfere with the exam – so don't bring any of the following into the examination room (a secure place to store your valuables will be provided):

  • Coins
  • Jewelry
  • Watches
  • Keys
  • Dentures or partial plates
  • Hearing aids

Magnetic waves can also erase the code on bank cards and credit cards, so don't bring your credit or bank cards into the MRI examination room. They should be stored in the secure locker we provide to you.

May I bring someone to the exam with me?

Yes, although they will have to wait in a waiting room while the scan is being done. While you're having your scan, you can communicate with the technologist at any time through an intercom system.

What can I expect during the exam?

There are many varieties of MRI exams. Depending upon the area being scanned, the setup of the room, and your position may be different. To begin the exam, you will lie down on the scan table. When the machine starts to work, you'll hear some loud knocking sounds. These sounds occur whenever the MRI pictures are being taken. You will be provided with earplugs or headphones to help block out the knocking sounds.
In any case, although it's noisy, an MRI exam is completely painless. The only thing you must do is HOLD STILL. If you move, the scans may be out of focus - and the exam may have to be repeated.

If necessary, you may be injected with a solution called a contrast agent or “dye”. This allows the radiologist to see the image more clearly. MRI contrast agents typically have few or no side effects, and the injection likely will just feel like a slight pinch. You may be asked to give your consent to this injection, at which time a more detailed explanation about the contrast agent will be given to you by our MRI technologist.

What happens if I can’t lay still or want to get off the table?

You will be able to communicate with the technologist with a call-bell and over an intercom throughout the exam. It is very important that you hold still during the entire time a set of pictures is being taken so the images turn out clearly. We take every measure to ensure that you are comfortable throughout the exam. Very occasionally, patients may feel claustrophobic in the MRI scanner. Some of these people may require a light sedative during the examination which we will give to you in the form of a small tablet taken by mouth. In this case, you will not be able to operate your motor vehicle after the exam and will require a ride home.

How long does the MRI scan take?

A typical MRI exam includes about 25 to 30 minutes of scan time. Total time from intake to completion is about an hour.

When and from whom will I get my results?

Your referring physician will receive a faxed report within 5 to 10 business days of your exam. Your physician may be able to access the images “on line” via the internet immediately after your exam. You can make an appointment with your referring physician to go over your results.

Is it a problem if I am breast-feeding or pregnant?

MRI may be used in pregnant women if other nonionizing forms of diagnostic imaging are inadequate or if the examination provides important information that would otherwise require exposure to ionizing radiation (e.g., fluoroscopy, CT, etc.). To date, there has been no indication that the use of clinical MR imaging during pregnancy has produced deleterious effects. This policy has been adopted by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and is considered the "standard of care" with respect to the use of MR procedures in pregnant patients. This information applies to MR systems operating up to and including 3-tesla. This applies to all stages of pregnancy and no special consideration is recommended for first, versus and other trimester in pregnancy.

There is no evidence to suggest that oral ingestion by an infant of the tiny amount of gadolinium contrast agent excreted into breast milk would cause toxic effects. Therefore, the available data suggest that it is safe for the mother and infant to continue breast-feeding after receiving such an agent. However, if the mother remains concerned about any potential ill effects, she should be given the opportunity to make an informed decision as to whether to continue or temporarily abstain from breast-feeding after receiving a gadolinium contrast agent. If the mother so desires, she may abstain from breast-feeding for 24 hours with active expression and discarding of breast milk from both breasts during that period. In anticipation of this, she may wish to use a breast pump to obtain milk before the contrast study to feed the infant during the 24-hour period following the examination.

Why do you need my previous x-rays, CT and MRI scans?

They can provide useful additional information for the Radiologist for comparison purposes when they are interpreting your MRI scan.

Will the results of my scan be kept confidential?

Yes. All of our staff members are bound to confidentiality agreements and follow strict codes of professional conduct.

Is my exam covered by Medicare?

The costs of an MRI scan at a private clinic are not usually covered by the New Brunswick Medicare system. At present, most extended health plans will not cover these costs. Please check your plan for details. Some employers, disability insurers and third party payers may cover the costs of the MRI examination for you. In addition, costs associated with MRI exams may be eligible for the Medical Expense Tax Credit offered by the Canada Revenue Agency.

How much does an MRI cost?

Pricing may vary depending on the exact body region/area of imaging required. We will be able to provide you with a cost once we review the requirements. Our clinic staff will explain the cost at the time of booking your appointment.

What methods of payment do you accept?

We accept Visa, MasterCard, Cash, and Debit.

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