Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
What is the test?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI for short)
is one of the most advanced, non-invasive techniques available for examining
the human body. A valuable diagnostic tool, MRI creates detailed images of
anatomic structures by using a strong magnetic field, radio waves, and computers.
Is it true that not everyone can have
Because this test involves the use of a
strong magnetic field, our staff has to confirm your safety, so please be
prepared to list all surgeries you have had in your life. While MRI is safe for
most patients, a small percentage of people cannot have this examination,
including women in their first trimester of pregnancy and patients with certain
implants. Anyone who has a cardiac pacemaker cannot have an MRI. Other
implants, such as cardiac stents, vascular clips, aneurysm clips, or heart
valves, need to be verified for safety in the MRI environment by the
technologist or radiologist.
Also, please let the imaging staff know if you have eye implants, permanent eyeliner, or if
you have ever suffered an accident that left a tiny foreign body embedded in
either of your eyes. If you have ever been shot or suffered shrapnel wounds, be
sure to tell the staff.
While an MRI is painless, some people do
experience claustrophobia during a standard (closed) MRI. If you think this may
be an issue for you, please talk to your referring doctor ahead of time about your
options: either using a mild sedative (which will require that you have a
companion drive you home) or having a high-field open MRI. Cayuga Medical
Center’s powerful open MRI is designed for maximum patient comfort while
delivering excellent images.
How do I prepare?
For most MRI exams there is no special
preparation. You may eat and drink as normal, and you may take medications as
prescribed by your physician. Please plan to arrive 20 minutes before your
scheduled appointment. Most MRI exams take at least 1 hour from start to
finish, which includes completing the information forms prior to the actual
exam. If you are having multiple examinations, plan to stay longer.
There is special preparation for an MRI
exam of the abdominal area. You may have nothing to eat or drink for a
minimum of 6 hours before your appointment. Take your medications with the
smallest amount of water possible, as fluid degrades the MRI images.
What can I expect during the procedure?
Prior to entering the MRI room for your
exam, we will give you a safe place in which to leave behind those items that
are not compatible with a magnetic field. This includes items such as coins,
hearing aids, jewelry, glasses, credit cards, keys, hair pins, and any other
If you wear clothing
without metal (such as zippers or snaps), you should not have to change into a
gown. You will be asked to lie on a table that moves into a
hollow cylinder surrounded by a large magnet. During the procedure you may hear
thumping while the equipment is in operation (for which ear plugs or head
phones are provided). There is no sensation of pain from the magnetic field or
radio waves. The examination can last from 10 to 45 minutes, depending on the
part of the body being imaged. You must remain still during the test, so if you
are in pain, you may want to take something prior to having your MRI. You may talk
with the MRI technologist during the exam.
Depending on the clinical problem and the
findings of the initial MRI, you may be given a contrast agent that enhances
the quality of the image. The contrast agent is injected into a vein in your
arm. The MRI images are reviewed by a radiologist to ensure they are of good
quality, and if additional scans are necessary, they usually will be taken
If you have had a contrast administered, we
recommend that you drink plenty of caffeine-free fluids after your MRI.
How and when will I get my test
Typically, within 48 hours
a written report of your test results will be sent to your referring physician,
who will review them with you. Additional time (3 to 5 days) may be required if
we are comparing these test results to previous findings from another hospital
or health-care provider.
Where is this test performed?
MRI is available at all three Imaging
Services centers. Standard (closed) MR Imaging is available at Cayuga Medical
Center at 101 Dates Drive, off NYS Route 96 in Ithaca, and at Convenient Care
and Commons Imaging Center in Cortland, Route 281 at Commons Avenue. High-field
Open MRI is available at the Convenient Care Center in Ithaca, Warren Road at
About our Imaging Services
Cayuga Medical Center has a commitment to
and reputation for staying abreast of changing technology and our imaging
equipment is state-of-the-art. Our range of services is comprehensive and we
offer all imaging modalities found in major medical centers. Radiologists are
on site at all three of our locations, which also distinguishes the level of
service we provide.
Imaging Services is staffed by six-board
certified radiologists, many of whom are subspecialists in areas such as
neuroradiology, abdominal CT, and interventional procedures. Assisting them are
experienced radiologic technologists, many of whom have completed advanced
training and are certified in specialty modalities.