MRI imaging centers normally contain several MRI machines to help diagnose certain medical conditions. The machines provide better imaging than x-rays allowing doctors to find areas within the body that may be of concern. When my husband had ongoing back trouble, his chiropractor suggested he go to MRI imaging centers to have his spine x-rayed. Although he had his spine x-rayed through normal procedures, it could not tell his doctor what the problem was. Sometimes x-rays will provide enough imaging that a doctor can tell what is going on but many times they require a more intense x-ray that shows tissue damage.
After the MRI the chiropractor could tell my husband had several blown discs which were causing his back pain. Since the doctor now knew what the problem was, he could better show my husband what to do to help the pain and to prevent any other discs from going out. MRI imaging centers may be located in a hospital, but most may be found in strip malls. The location of these imaging centers makes it easy for patients to get to. An MRI is a non-invasive procedure that usually takes 30 minutes to an hour depending on the area of the body. The machine can feel claustrophobic however. Those that suffer from claustrophobia may require an anti-anxiety medication before having their MRI taken. The medication helps to ease their anxiety so they can relax during the procedure. The machine may also be loud which can also cause a person anxiety. You may be able to wear ear plugs during the procedure to help stifle some of the noise.
People who visit MRI imaging centers can have a host of different medical conditions. The MRI is used to detect early cancer, torn ligaments, muscle injuries, spinal problems, and brain and stomach damage. Because the MRI can see damage to soft tissue, it provides more information than an ultrasound or a CT scan. There are certain people who cannot have an MRI administered to them, such as pregnant women or those who have metal inside their body. A person who has a metal rod in their leg for instance cannot have an MRI taken. This would also include metal braces on the teeth.
Before visiting MRI imaging centers, ask your doctor if you should not eat before the test. If the MRI is of your stomach your doctor may not want you to eat for a certain period beforehand. You cannot wear any jewelry, pins in your hair, belts and other types of metal that could harm the machine. Normally you may be asked to strip down to your underwear and put on a hospital gown for better imaging. MRI imaging centers are not in all areas of the country, especially rural areas. If you live in a rural area and your doctor wants you to get an MRI you will most likely have to travel to a larger city to have one. Sometimes hospitals do have the equipment, but smaller hospitals won’t.
If you must travel a long distance for an MRI procedure, have someone go with you especially if you are taking a sedative before the MRI. You will need someone to drive you home as you may not be able to drive properly after taking the sedative. The test itself should not hurt, and you should be fine by the next day. An MRI allows your doctor a better chance at diagnosing a medical condition, especially if he is having difficulty doing so with other tests. Ask your doctor about an MRI and how it may help to diagnose any medical problems you have.