MRIs in Northern Virginia & Maryland
What is an MRI?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), is a noninvasive way for physicians to examine internal organs, tissues, and skeletal system. It produces high-resolution images that helps obtain diagnostic information. Unlike X-Rays and computed tomographic (CT) scans, which use radiation, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses powerful magnets and radio waves. An MRI procedure can quickly provide accurate diagnostic information which may reduce the need for exploratory surgery or other procedures that may have greater risk.
How do I prepare?
MRI uses a very powerful magnet, radio waves and a sophisticated computer system to produce remarkable images without x-ray radiation.
- Before your MRI exam, remove all accessories including hairpins, jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids, wigs, dentures. During the exam, these metal objects may interfere with the magnetic field, affecting the quality of the MRI images taken.
- Notify your technologist if you have:
- any prosthetic joints – hip, knee
- a heart pacemaker (or artificial heart valve), defibrillator or artificial heart valve
- an intrauterine device (IUD),
- any metal plates, pins, screws, or surgical staples in your body.
- tattoos and permanent make-up.
- a bullet or shrapnel in your body, or ever worked with metal.
- if you might be pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant.
- if you are claustrophobic. Some patients who undergo MRI in an enclosed unit may feel confined. If you are not easily reassured, a sedative may be prescribed by your physician.
- If you have a history of working around metal, grinding, welding or you think you may have metal in your eyes, you will need to come for an orbital x-ray prior to your appointment.
- In addition, please do not wear hairspray or eye makeup.
- You may be asked to change into a patient gown. Sometimes this is not necessary if your clothes are relatively free of metal.
Please note that a patient may not qualify for an M.R.I. exam if any of the following conditions exist:
- Aneurysm Clips
- Neural Stimulator
- Metal Objects Embedded in the Body
- Permanent makeup (eyeliner, lip liner, eyebrows, etc.) unless vegetable dye was used
- Cochlear Implants
- Artificial Heart Valve
- Metallic Fragments, Objects
- Please alert our staff to any of the above conditions when you schedule an appointment and inform the technologist of your condition(s) before beginning an examination.
- Please make arrangements to bring all related imaging studies, i.e., prior x-rays, CT’s, M.R.I.’s, Sonograms, Mammograms, etc., so that our radiologist can make comparisons and provide the best interpretation of your new studies.
What should I expect?
Depending on how many images are needed, the exam generally takes 15 to 45 minutes. However, very detailed studies may take longer.
- You must lie down on a sliding table and be comfortably positioned.
- Even though the technologist must leave the room, you will be able to communicate with them at any time using an intercom.
- If necessary, many MRI centers allow a friend or family member to stay in the room with you during the exam.
- You will be asked to remain still during the actual imaging process. However, between sequences, which last between 2-15 minutes, slight movement is allowed.
- Depending on the part of the body being examined, a contrast material may be used to enhance the visibility of certain tissues or blood vessels. A small needle is placed in your arm or hand vein and a saline solution IV drip will run through the intravenous line to prevent clotting. About two-thirds of the way through the exam, the contrast material is injected.
- Having an MRI is painless.
- Some claustrophobic patients may experience a “closed in” feeling. If this is a concern, a sedative may be administered. Also, newer open MRI machines have helped to alleviate this reaction.
- You will hear loud tapping or thumping during the exam which is the imaging process being performed. Earplugs or earphones may be provided to you by the MRI center.
- You may feel warmth in the area being examined. This is normal.
- If a contrast injection is needed, there may be some discomfort at the injection site. You may also feel a cool sensation at the site during the injection. Allergic reactions to the substance rarely occur.
Locations and MRI Options
3.0 Tesla MRI: New Ambient Experience 3.0 Tesla MRI*
1.0 Tesla High-Field MRI
Ready for an appointment?
Please have your physician’s order and insurance card if applicable in hand, and call (877) 504-9729.