If your healthcare provider recommended that you get an MRI test, you may have questions about what to expect. In this post, we’ll explore what an MRI test is, how much it costs, how long the procedure takes, what the MRI test results may reveal and how you can schedule your WWMG MRI at our Imaging Center.
What is an MRI test?
MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, which means that a combination of high-power magnets, radio waves and a computer are used to take detailed photos of the inside of your body. MRIs do not utilize ionizing radiation like other procedures such as CT scans and X-rays. Plus, doctors can use MRIs on various parts of the body, including the nervous system and soft tissues.
Those who are in their first trimester of pregnancy, have a pacemaker, have cochlear implants, use neurostimulation systems, have vascular clips or have bullets, shrapnel or other metal fragments within their body, could face a health hazard by getting an MRI, so it’s important for the patient to share their comprehensive medical history when being screened for the procedure.
Please know that MRI’s done at WWMG may be less expensive than if completed in a hospital or other setting, without sacrificing on quality! The cost of an MRI depends on various factors such as which part of the body will be tested, facility setting, and what type of insurance coverage the patient has for that type of care. We advise our patients to inquire with their insurance and WWMG’s Imaging Center to learn more about pricing.
How long does the test take?
Depending on what part of the body is being tested, an MRI can take anywhere from 15 minutes to a full hour, including time for the patient to change into a sterile gown, and put headphones and a microphone on to communicate with the technologist during the test.
What can be expected when the test is performed?
MRIs are painless, though some patients who are claustrophobic may have issues with the confined space of the tube where the scans are taken and require sedation, but most individuals do not.
To start the procedure, patients are placed on a moveable exam table outside of the MRI tube. They may be strapped in to reduce the chance of movement, as it’s important for them to remain still for the duration of the test. Then, the technologist will likely place coils that send and receive radio waves around the area of the body that’s being examined. Next, the patient will be placed into the magnet while the technologist works outside the tube. In some cases, contrast material will be administered through an IV to get a better reading. Once the technologist has sufficient scans, the patient will be released from the tube and the IV removed, if that was part of their procedure.
What can MRI tests reveal about the patient?
Many conditions can be detected by taking an MRI of the spinal cord and brain, including strokes, aneurysms, vision problems, inner ear issues, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injuries. When an MRI is conducted on the heart, it is used to detect issues with the aorta, heart disease, damage from heart attacks or blocked blood vessels. Alternately, when MRIs are used to view bones and joints they can often find arthritis, joint damage, torn ligaments, disk issues, tumors and bone infections. Additionally, MRIs can check organs such as kidneys, the pancreas, ovaries, prostates, the liver and breasts for various ailments.
When should I consult a medical professional?
If you need to schedule an MRI test, and have a referral from your doctor, contact the Western Washington Medical Group Imaging Center. They can be reached at (425) 263-8980. In addition to MRI, our Imaging Center also provides CT, Ultrasound and X-Ray services.
The team at our Imaging Center is dedicated to providing caring, professional service to each patient using state-of-the-art technology. The Center is open from Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is located at:
3822 Colby Avenue, Suite 100, Everett, WA 98201
If you haven’t yet received a referral, and have questions about MRIs or WWMG in general, complete our contact form with your inquiry.