Frequently Asked Questions
What is MRI?
Since its introduction in the early 1980's, MRI has emerged as an imaging technology that is excellent for diagnosing of brains, knees, etc. with technology that is continually changing. The CHEM Center for MRI offers the latest MRI technology available today. MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a unique procedure that uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to look inside the human body. It is an important addition to existing diagnostic tools because it is a painless procedure which offers your physician unprecedented detailed images of the human body without using ionizing radiation (x-rays). The procedure works with radio waves directed at protons in your body. The protons are first "excited" and then "relaxed" the relaxed state generates radio signals, which can be computer-processed to form an image. The MRI image shows differences in the water content and distribution in various body tissues. Even different types of tissue within the same organ, such as the gray and white matter of the brain can be distinguished. Typically a MRI exam consists of two to six imaging sequences, each lasting two to fifteen minutes. Each sequence has its own degree of contrast and shows a cross section of the body.
What will happen to me during the screening and registration process?
Screening is the process that takes place before your MRI exam and includes the taking of a medical history and individual instruction regarding the exam.
You will be registered the day of your exam. This process takes about 15-30 minutes. You will be asked to provide your medical history in detail and sign consent forms. The technologist performing your exam will thoroughly explain the procedure and answer all your questions.
What will my exam be like?
During your MRI exam, you will lie on a padded table, which will slide into the magnet that is open on both ends. It is important that you lie very still while the images are being taken. An MRI technologist will be right outside the exam room and will be able to see and hear you the entire time. If you are uncomfortable, just say so and the technologist will be right in to assist you.
What will my exam feel like?
You will not feel anything. Remember, this is a painless procedure. The scanner has no moving parts but does make a repetitive knocking noise similar to a drumbeat as it collects information. Music or earplugs are provided to reduce the noise. You may receive an injection to enhance the images.
Can I bring a friend or family member?
A friend or family member is welcome, but they must be screened for conditions that would prevent them from joining you in the scan room.
Can I bring CD's, or listen to music?
Music is available for the Open MRI scanner. The High Field scanner produces a much louder noise and will interfere with your enjoyment of the music.
When will I know the results of my scan?
The images of your exam will be read by our Board Certified Radiologist. The report of your exam is available to your physician generally within 24 hours. Your doctor will discuss your test findings with you.
What if I need to cancel?
If you need to cancel your exam, PLEASE call us at least one day in advance at (781) 279-2213.
Are there any possible risks associated with MRI?
Extensive testing was done on MRI before it was approved for medical use. There are no known adverse effects from the MRI imaging process itself. At present, MRI scans are not routinely recommended for pregnant women in the first trimester.
What if I am claustrophobic?
The CHEM Center now has an open magnet for those patients who are claustrophobic. The Hitachi Open Magnet was designed to easily accommodate anxious and claustrophobic patients.
Additionally, if you are severely claustrophobic, you should speak with your physician who may prescribe a sedative. If you are taking a sedative, you must be accompanied by an adult who is responsible for getting you to and from your appointment.
Anyone concerned about the exam is welcome to come by the Center prior to his or her scan in order to view the magnets and talk with our staff.
What should I bring to the exam
- No special preparations are necessary for an MRI scan (except for the MRCP exam). Eat, drink, and take medications as you normally do.
- Please remember to bring all insurance information and ID cards.
- Wear comfortable clothing. You may be asked to change into a hospital gown, but frequently a sweat suit or similar garment without any metal (zippers, metal buttons or snaps) is sufficient.
- If you were instructed by your physician to obtain previous xrays and CT films, please remember to bring them with you.
- Please leave all your valuables at home since you will not be able to wear most jewelry and watches in the scan room. These items can be affected by the magnet. Lockers are available for safe keeping, but we cannot take responsibility for lost or stolen items.
- You will be given specific instructions, depending on the area to be examined. For example, for a head scan you may be asked to remove bridgework and non-permanent dentures.
Who may not have an MRI scan?
Most patients with joint replacements or other orthopedic hardware do not present a problem and still can be scanned, but because MRI uses powerful Magnetic Fields, some patients may be excluded from having a MRI.
If any of the following conditions exist please notify us before your exam.
- Cardiac Pacemaker
- Cerebral Aneurysm Clips
- Cochlear Implants
- Implanted Insulin or Chemotherapy Pumps
- Implanted Neuro-Stimulator Devices
- Heart Valve Replacements
- Other Prosthetic Devices
- Metal Fragments in Eye
What are my rights as a patient?
We are committed to maintaining the rights of patients and will assure patient confidentiality, dignity, privacy and the right for you to understand and consent to the test.
Can I receive copies of my MRI films and reports?
Upon your request, your films and reports are available for you to pick up. Please call us at 781-279-2213 to request copies.
What about payment for my MRI scan?
The charges for your scan are usually covered by Medicare, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Medicaid, various HMO's and government employee programs, as well as by commercial insurance companies. As a courtesy, staff will verify your insurance coverage and inform you of any payment responsibility. For any balance, we accept MasterCard, Visa, personal checks or cash for payment. Please note that you will be billed separately by the Radiologist for interpretations of the exam.