Spine Study

How it works: The MRI scan uses a powerful magnet, radio frequency waves and a computer that processes the images to acquire extremely accurate images of organs, soft tissue, bone and internal body structures. The MRI is one of the safest and most comfortable diagnostic imaging studies available. We have two types of equipment: one with a 1.5T wide-bore magnet and another with a 3T wide-bore magnet. Our team of radiologists, technologists and schedulers are always available to help identify the most appropriate magnet for your study.

Why we do it: An MRI of the spine may be used to examine the spine, spinal cord and disc spaces.

What to expect:

During your visit, a patient advocate will show you to the changing area to change into scrubs and can assist you if necessary. Our changing rooms offer secure lockers, but we encourage patients to leave valuables at home. Once changed, our patient advocate will guide you to the sub-waiting area where you will find a selection of magazines and newspapers. A staff member will notify you when it is time for your MRI scan and introduce you to the MRI technologist.

The technologist is specially trained and certified by the American Registry of Radiological Technologists to take care of you during your MRI scan. A device called a coil will be placed around the area of your body we are scanning. Once you are comfortable, the technologist will move the table into the MRI scanner. You will be able to speak and hear the MRI technologist over an intercom.

The scan takes from 20-40 minutes depending on the purpose of your scan. There is light and plenty of air within the magnet. The equipment does not touch your body but you will hear buzzing and tapping noises from the machine. These sounds are normal and will last a few minutes. We will supply you with ear plugs and/or headphones. Some patients also find it comforting to wear prism glasses, or other items to cover your eyes, which can help patients who are feeling claustrophobic. We have all these aids available for you.

Depending on your situation, you may receive an injection during the procedure. The injection is for what we call “contrast” and allows for greater visibility of some parts of the body. Some patients describe a metallic taste or cool sensation after the injection. This is normal and usually subsides quickly.

Prep & safety: A quality MRI study is dependent on your ability to remain still for the entirety of the exam. If you are taking any medication, please continue taking it as prescribed. If you feel you may be in too much pain to remain still, please consult your referring physician who may prescribe a pain medication for your study. If you are claustrophobic, please alert your referring provider so they can discuss pre-treatment options with you.

Please arrive 30 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time.

Your results: A highly specialized radiologist will interpret your images and prepare a diagnostic report for your physician within 48 hours. If your exam was ordered “stat” your physician will be notified of the interpretation the same day. Your physician will determine how the radiologists' report can be used to develop a treatment plan and will speak with you about your results.