The MRI Experience: What You Need to Know

Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, is a multi-billion dollar industry. A large part of the United States population is aging, and the need for routine imaging as part of diagnosing and monitoring chronic diseases is increasing. Whether needing an MRI for a minor injury or a major diagnosis, people often have many questions. Many times, those questions don’t come up until leaving the doctor’s office.

What an MRI Shows

An MRI is a scan done on a specific area of the body to get a detailed picture of what is going on inside. It uses very powerful magnets, as opposed to ionized radiation, to help take these pictures. They are particularly helpful when needing to look at nerves or organs. Doctors can use MRIs to diagnose diseases, check healing progress, or check damage due to injuries.

Where To Have an MRI Done

Contrary to popular belief, there are choices available regarding where to have an MRI done. Many people are opting for an open MRI to make it a more calming experience. In this type, people aren’t completely surrounded by the machine on all sides. When deciding on an imaging facility, make sure your preferred option is offered. Research the facility and ask your doctor’s opinion on it. Call the facility to ask about insurances accepted, accreditation, and turnaround time.

How an MRI Feels

Many people feel a little nervous about the actual process of having an MRI. The good news is that it doesn’t hurt; in fact, you won’t feel anything. You will lie on a bed near the machine, and when they turn the machine on, you will hear various humming and thumping noises. The time each MRI takes varies, depending on the type of MRI and body part, so be sure to ask how long you should expect to be in there.

MRIs are common imaging techniques. The process can seem a little overwhelming at first, but it doesn’t have to be. Knowing what to expect can help you stay calm and have a good experience.