MRI’s are one of the most commonly performed diagnostic imaging procedures in the United States. There are tens of millions of MRIs performed each year, and there are a variety of reasons why your doctor may think you’re a good candidate for an MRI. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a type of imaging that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to generate images of the body. MRI has become a very valuable diagnostic tool detecting everything from cancer, heart and vascular disease, strokes, and disorders of the joints and musculoskeletal system.
When it comes to any diagnostic imaging procedure, the more you know about the procedure, how to prepare, etc., the better prepared you will be. Here’s everything you should consider asking your doctor before undergoing an MRI so you can know exactly what to expect and go into the procedure feeling calm, cool, and collected!
You need to know why you need an MRI. What condition is your doctor trying to diagnose? The answer should be specific as they are looking for a certain condition or results. MRI’s are safe tests that do not expose you to any radiation and help doctors rule out conditions/plan effective treatment when needed. They are extremely helpful when diagnosing injuries, diseases, tumors, and abnormalities.
Many insurances cover standard diagnostic imaging tests like MRI’s in at least some capacity, but this depends largely on the type of plan that you have, whether or not you’ve met your deductible, and whether the imaging center that you’re getting an MRI at is in-network. Some plans require patients to pay the full price, many will cover all or a portion of the costs, and then some insurances charge a flat fee which is a certain percentage of the entire cost called a co-payment. If you stay in your provider network your costs will be less.
Always be sure to check with your doctor to find out if the test is covered by your insurance and, if not, how much you will be responsible for financially. Try to find the best price possible with good quality services. Your doctor’s office staff should work with you to try to find out if the MRI is covered by your insurance and what you have to pay.
There’s very little prep work required for an MRI! Patients are asked to remove all metal and jewelry from their bodies. You’ll be given a hospital gown to change into for the exam, and then placed onto the scanner table. The technologist will position you within the MRI machine, then leave the room and begin the scan! It’s very important that you keep as still as possible throughout the duration of the procedure – your technologist is taking images of the inside of your body, and if you move around then the images may be blurry or unusable.
It’s normal to hear some thumping, tapping, and beeping noises from the machine during your MRI scan! Some clinics may provide you with earplugs or headphones to block out the noise and distract yourself with music, while others may allow a friend or loved one to be in the room with you. The technologist will be in another room but able to communicate with you throughout the entire process!
Who Receives The Results & What Happens Afterward?
Once your MRI is done, the images from the scan are sent to our board certified radiologists to review. They’ll examine the images in detail, and make note of any relevant or important diagnostic findings. In some cases the radiologist will communicate the results directly to the patient, and in other cases they share their findings with your doctor who then communicates the results.
A follow-up exam is sometimes performed if an abnormality is detected or if the images from your scan are inconclusive. From there your physician can develop an appropriate treatment program for you if you have a tumor, injury, or disease that was found. Sometimes you will be sent to a specialist to treat the condition that you have.
Getting referred out for a diagnostic imaging procedure like an MRI can be scary, but if you take the time to sit down with your doctor, talk through some of these questions, and educate yourself about your upcoming MRI then you’ll be better equipped and less anxious heading into your procedure! If you live in New York and need an MRI in Manhattan, schedule an appointment today with the diagnostic imaging specialists here at Rosetta Radiology.