Radiology Muskegon utilizes the most advanced MRI technology available with the only 3Tesla MRI unit available in the lakeshore area. Depending upon specific patient symptoms or disease condition, we can customize an MRI exam which can expedite diagnosis and treatment. An MRI requires a scheduled appointment and can usually be scheduled within the same week after receiving and approving a request for MRI.
What is MRI used for?
MRI is primarily used to establish a diagnosis for disease conditions affecting the body and to evaluate for bodily injuries after trauma. MRI exams can be performed as an initial problem solving diagnostic tool but are most commonly used as an adjunct to other types of imaging to provide additional diagnostic information. MRI can also be used to assess therapeutic response to treatment, evaluate unexplained changes in your health, to guide interventional procedures and for anatomic evaluation required for presurgical planning.
Where do I go for a MRI exam?
MRI exams are performed only at our hospital locations. Outpatient MRI exams require a scheduled appointment. Inpatient and emergent MRI exams do not require a scheduled appointment and are given priority. Once a request for an MRI exam is received and approved by the imaging department, the patient will be contacted and scheduled for the exam.
How do I prepare for a MRI exam?
Loose fitting clothing is recommended. Patients may be asked to change into a gown provided by the imaging facility, remove jewelry or empty pockets prior to the exam. All magnetic material must be removed prior to imaging.
Prior to a scheduled appointment some preparation may be required. Patients may be asked to avoid eating/drinking and to withhold certain medications for a certain length of time prior to the exam. Some MRI exams require insertion of an IV for hydration purposes or intravenous injection of contrast material. If IV contrast material is to be injected some patients may require a blood draw to evaluate kidney function prior to the exam. A detailed patient clinical and surgical history is required as part of the screening process prior to the exam. Additional medical information and imaging may be required prior to an MRI exam to further assess for contraindications to MRI such as metallic surgical implants and foreign bodies.
What are the benefits and risks of a MRI exam?
MRI is an advanced diagnostic imaging tool that uses no ionizing radiation to create images of the body, therefore it is safe for all patients including pregnant and unborn patients. MRI is painless and provides excellent anatomic detail of internal and external body parts. MRI is useful for establishing new diagnoses. MRI is also useful for evaluating the effectiveness of certain surgical procedures and treatment regimens. There are no significant health risks associated with MRI.
What will I experience during a MRI exam?
Patients will be asked to lay down usually supine on the MRI imaging table. A diagnostic MRI exam is painless but is time consuming compared with other types of imaging. Maintaining a motionless position and performing breath holds can be very difficult for young, ill and elderly patients. Discomfort with MRI may be experienced due to required positioning of affected body parts during imaging. Some patients report a warm flushing sensation during IV injection of contrast material. Some patients experience a mild reaction following IV injection of contrast material such as itching, skin redness, nausea and a lightheaded feeling. These symptoms usually subside quickly requiring no medical intervention. Interventional procedures using MRI guidance can be painful, in such instances IV sedation medications may be administered to alleviate pain and anxiety. Most MRI exams are tolerated well by patients. However, some patients experience a claustrophobic feeling and increased anxiety during imaging which may require oral or IV sedation to alleviate symptoms.
How do I get the results of a MRI exam?
Exam results are usually available within 24 hours after the exam is performed. Once the exam is interpreted and reported by the radiologist, the exam results become immediately available for review by the requesting physician through the secure Mercy Health Partners patient portal system and the results become part of the patient’s permanent medical record. Patients can request a copy of their images at the performing imaging facility.
Are the costs of a MRI exam covered by insurance?
The majority of MRI exam costs are covered by private insurance plans and Medicaid/Medicare plans. MRI exams are an advanced diagnostic imaging tool that are more expensive than basic types of imaging. At Radiology Muskegon, we strive to reduce unnecessary costs incurred by patients. There are options available to patients for financial assistance or reduced payment plan options if patients are not able to pay the costs of imaging.