Parkview affiliate PMI Diagnostic Imaging offers Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) at our New Lenox and Palos Heights office locations. MRI is a way of using a powerful magnetic field to create detailed images of your organs and tissues. It can be used to examine all parts of the body, and there are no known dangers associated with the procedure.
In New Lenox, we offer a state-of-the-art wide bore high field 1.5T MRI that brings university-level imaging to the community. Its wider design dramatically reduces claustrophobia, while still producing superior images in shortened time. The outstanding, clear images help us diagnose and analyze your condition and recovery better. In Palos Heights, our machine is an Open MRI, which delivers patient comfort without compromising quality or capabilities. The extra-wide opening accommodates patients of all shapes and sizes with ease, while reducing the “closed-in” feeling of traditional MRI scanners.
PREPARING FOR YOUR MRI EXAM
When you are scheduling your exam, our MRI staff will ask you several screening questions to ensure it is safe for you to have an MRI. Because the MR system uses a powerful magnet to obtain its images, our technologists will need to know if you have any metallic implants or any other iron-containing internal objects. For your safety, it is critical that you inform the MRI tech if you have any of the following:
- Cardiac pacemakers or defibrillators
- Stents or any other implanted devices
- Metal fragments in your eyes (If you have ever worked with grinding or welding of metal, we can use an x-ray to screen for such an object.)
- Have had any procedures within the last 8 weeks (E.g. colonoscopy or endoscopy)
If your physician has ordered an MRI with contrast, you may be required to complete lab work to ensure that it is safe for you to receive the contrast material. This applies specifically to anyone over the age of 60, as well as to any patients who have a history of kidney issues or liver disease. In addition, if you will be receiving contrast material, let the technologist know about any of the following:
- Any allergies or sensitivities to medications, contrast dyes, anesthesia, iodine, tape or latex
- All medications or supplements you are taking
- Any history of bleeding disorders or if you are taking any blood thinners, including aspirin
- If you could be pregnant
If you are concerned about claustrophobia, talk to your ordering physician prior to coming in for your exam. The machines we offer have extra-wide openings, which help to reduce the closed-in feeling that many patients would experience in traditional MRI scanners. But please discuss any concerns with your physician, as he or she can prescribe a sedative if necessary.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Once you have cleared our screening questions, you will be asked to securely store all metallic objects in a locker and, most likely, change into scrubs or a gown. Some common objects that are not allowed in the exam room include cell phones, metal jewelry and watches, and any clothing with metallic zippers, buttons, snaps or underwire.
You will then be escorted into the MR system room and asked to lie down on a table that glides you into and out of the scanner. The positioning of your body will depend on which body part is being examined—some patients will enter the MRI scanner feet-first, while others will be head-first. Our technologists will provide you with headphones to wear during the exam because the scanner does produce loud noises when it operates.
If your physician ordered an MRI with contrast, a dye will be injected to help obtain a clearer picture of the area being examined. The MRI technologist will administer the contrast dye via an IV, typically in the arm or hand.
Most MRI exams take about 45-60 minutes to complete, depending on the body part being imaged and how many images are needed. You must remain perfectly still during each short imaging series, but some minor movement will be allowed between sequences. Though the procedure itself is painless, it may be uncomfortable having to move or hold the joint in certain positions for imaging. Our MRI technologists will do everything possible to minimize this discomfort. He or she will be able to speak to you, hear you, and observe you at all times, so you can let him/her know if you have any questions or concerns during the exam.
AFTER YOUR EXAM
A CD of the images will be ready shortly after the MRI exam concludes. The report written by the radiologist will be available within a few days. If your MRI exam was ordered by one of our Parkview physicians, you will need to schedule a follow-up appointment with him or her to discuss the results. We recommend scheduling your follow-up at least 3 days after the MRI exam, to allow ample time for the written report to be ready.
At our PMI Diagnostic Imaging suite in New Lenox, we also offer MR Arthrograms. An arthrogram is a procedure that uses fluoroscopic-guidance (a special type of x-ray) to inject contrast dye directly into a specific joint. This can help to outline muscles and tendons and may be ordered by your physician if standard imaging will not show the needed details of the joint.
The process of the MR Arthrogram procedure is very similar to that of a standard MRI. You will be asked screening questions and prepare exactly as described in “Preparing for your MRI” above. (As a note, you will be receiving contrast dye, so take note of those specific requirements.) The difference is that before you are taken into the MRI exam, you will first be given a fluoroscopic-guided joint injection.
To prepare for the injection, the skin around the joint being examined will be numbed with a local anesthetic. Next, our radiologist will use our c-arm fluoroscopic x-ray system to confirm the placement of a long, thin needle directly into the joint. This is how he or she administers the contrast dye. You may feel pressure as the needle is placed, but it should not be painful after being numbed. Once the fluoroscopic-guided injection is administered, you will be taken into the MR system room to complete your MRI exam.
You will receive specific instructions from our radiologist or MRI technologists regarding aftercare of an MR Arthrogram. Please contact our office if you develop a fever or notice any redness, bleeding/drainage, or increased pain/swelling around the injection site.