Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive technology that allows the capture of elegant images of the brain, spine, joints, internal organs, and other areas of the body, all without exposure to x-rays. This technology is vastly superior to CT scanning (the usual offering in "body scanning" and walk-in imaging facilities) for almost all studies of anatomy and function. CT scanning provides only a granular, x-ray-quality picture of most structures, making it inadequate to obtain sufficient detail for such areas as the lower brain. MRI, however, enables the high-resolution study of anatomic structures and readily detects abnormalities with a high degree of accuracy. The result is the equivalent of being able to visualize the anatomy as though you were holding it in your hand or putting it under a magnifying glass or microscope.An MRI scanner consists of a large magnetic console with a horizontal tube, or bore, running through the center. Prior to scanning, patients are carefully screened to ensure metal objects (e.g., jewelry, tools, medical implants) will not pose a safety hazard in the presence of the magnet. During an MRI study, the patient lies on a special table that slides fully or partially into the bore, depending on the type of exam being performed. To ease the concerns of patients with claustrophobia, the advanced MRI at Snow Canyon Clinic features a wider, shorter bore than other systems, allowing the patient to see the room environment regardless of his or her body position. Mild sedation is also an option for patients with severe claustrophobia.
The duration of an MRI study depends on the nature of the exam and the anatomical structures being evaluated. The application of magnetic fields results in "thumping" or "pulsing" sounds that can be noisy, so patients are fitted with headphones that allow them to listen to the music of their choice as well as to receive instructions from the technologist performing the study.
Generally, only certain advanced imaging procedures require special preparations by the patient. For example, you might be asked to drink juice to facilitate imaging the small intestine or to cleanse the bowels and abstain from food and water to facilitate imaging the colon.
At Snow Canyon Clinic, all MRI studies are interpreted by the radiologist the evening the study is done, and written results are available to the referring physician and the patient the following day. Frequently, if the study is ordered by a Snow Canyon Clinic physician, the physician will review your study with you using sophisticated computers available in all areas of the Clinic. If a community physician orders your study, that physician has access to your results via a secured Internet link and can review your results with you offsite. We can also copy your study to a CD, if you have a home computer and wish to have the information as a personal record. This service is provided at no additional charge.