Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI utilizes a strong magnetic field and radiofrequency signals to create detailed images of the body. In contrast to a x-ray or CT scan, there is no radiation. The MRI exam is painless and requires the patient to lie still for approximately 30-45 minutes in a tube like structure. A radiologist then interprets the images, evaluating the anatomy for disease and creating a report of the findings.
All MRI exams are not created equal. A typical exam is composed of six to ten different image sets, termed sequences. Sequences are not standard. They differ by institution, have many variables and require considerable time to refine. Furthermore, different sequences are helpful for different types of problems. Our staff of subspecialized radiologists has extensively developed our imaging protocols. For example, we have over a dozen different ways of imaging the foot alone. We strive to put together the right combination of high quality sequences to address each patient’s problem. We believe a better built exam yields a more thorough diagnosis.
Given the large number of spine and joint replacement surgeries performed at NEBH, it is frequently necessary to image around or near hardware. Metal does not go well with MRI. It distorts nearby anatomy and generates artifacts that obscures surrounding structures. Here at NEBH, we employ a series of techniques to minimize the effect of metal on the scan. This metal artifact reduction technique often allows a confident diagnosis to be made right next to hardware.
NEBH has an ONI extremity MRI machine. This is used for imaging the wrist, hand, finger, elbow and knee. There are imaging advantages to this MRI machine, particularly for small parts like fingers that can be placed easily in the center of the magnet. The major advantage to patients during the exam is that you are seated in a comfortable recliner while being scanned. Only your arm or leg is in the bore of the MRI machine. This makes for an easy scanning experience, particularly for patients with claustrophobia.