About Our Service
At Spectrum Health, we use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to produce detailed, cross-sectional images of your bones, joints, soft tissues, spine and brain. Instead of using radiation, the scanner creates a magnetic field around you and then pulses radio waves to the area of your body to be pictured. A computer records the vibrations and translates that data into a detailed picture. There is no pain with this procedure, but the machine can be noisy.
A MRI exam is also used to evaluate pelvic organs, blood vessels, lymph nodes and organs of the chest and abdomen. You may need a MRI examination to help your doctor diagnose or monitor treatment for conditions like heart problems, diseases of the liver and pancreas, inflammatory bowel disease, tumors and malformations of the blood vessels. If you are pregnant, it is also used to safely monitor your baby. Because of how noisy the machine can be, we encourage you to bring something to listen to during the procedure, which typically takes 30 to 50 minutes.
If you are claustrophobic, anxious or have a large body build, we have an open MRI, which is open on the sides to provide a more spacious environment. An open MRI can help alleviate feelings of claustrophobia. If you have serious claustrophobia or anxiety, you may want to ask your doctor for a mild sedative prior to the exam.
Did you know that Spectrum Health offers the only "iMRI" in the region? iMRI stands for intraoperative (or interventional) magnetic resonance imaging. It begins with the same goal of a traditional MRI: to take internal images. The difference with iMRI is your doctor uses able to see precise images in real-time during the procedure. iMRI has become helpful in brain surgeries for tumors and memory and movement disorders (Parkinson's disease, dystonia, brain injuries and dementia). Seizure and epilepsy treatment may also benefit from iMRI. This technology is still emerging and expected to enhance many more areas of medicine.
The magnetic field is powerful but not harmful. It’s important to tell the technologist if you have any medical devices or metal in your body and to remove any metal articles prior to exam. This includes jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids, credit cards, pens and body piercings. Most orthopedic implants pose no risk but it’s still advised to inform the technologist of implants. You should not enter the MRI scanning area if you have a cochlear implant, pacemaker, cardiac defibrillator, or have metal clips for a brain aneurysm or metal coils in blood vessels.