Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI scans use a large magnet, radio waves and a computer to produce detailed images of your internal structures.
At El Camino Health, our MRI scanners produce high-resolution images that provide excellent detail. They’re able to show large areas of the body at one time, instead of in several smaller images.
During an MRI, you’ll lie very still in a large, tube-shaped machine that creates a strong magnetic field. This field, along with radio waves produced by the MRI machine, works with your body’s natural magnetic properties to create signals that a computer translates into images. In some cases, the scan is performed using a contrast solution (dye) to provide a more detailed picture of internal structures. The die is injected through an intravenous (IV) line.
Doctors use MRIs to diagnose many conditions, including:
- Injuries or abnormalities of bones or joints.
- Tumors and other problems in the brain or spinal cord.
- Endometriosis, fibroids and other causes of pelvic pain in women.
- Some types of heart problems.
- Diseases involving abdominal organs. New cancers and those that have spread to distant parts of the body. Breast cancer after a problem area is found in a screening mammogram.
- Prostate cancer, in which case it’s combined with Artemis™ 3D imaging and navigation technology.
Because MRI technology creates a magnetic field, metal devices and implants — such as pacemakers or artificial joints — can cause problems. It’s important to tell your doctor if you have any of these or any other metal items in your body before you have this test.
MRIs are painless and there are no known risks from the temporary exposure to the magnetic fields they produce. Since MRI doesn’t use radiation, radiation exposure isn’t an issue. However, some people feel claustrophobic during the exam or are bothered by the loud noises — imaging technologists can give you earplugs to make you more comfortable during the exam.