Magnetic Resonance Imaging is more commonly referred to as MRI. MRI is a non-invasive procedure used to gather information about your body without involving radiation.
The MRI machine is a large magnet with a round opening. Using the magnet and radio waves, signals are sent to a computer that makes an image of the inside of the body appear on a screen.
MRI has been useful in diagnosing disorders of the central nervous system, joints, abdominal and pelvic organs, and circulatory system.
Winneshiek Medical Center has an in-house MRI machine. With patient convenience in mind, we provide scheduled MRI exams Monday – Friday.
Special notes about MRI
Due to the magnetic properties of MRI, it is essential that we know about all metallic devices that may be present inside your body. They include pacemakers and/or pacewires, embedded shrapnel, aneurysm clips, cochlear stimulating devices, and artificial valves surgically affixed to your heart. You may be asked to have an X-ray of your eyes if you have a history of metal welding or grinding to ensure there is no metal present in your eyes.
You will be asked to remove all loose or foreign metal objects such as jewelry, watches, dentures, credit cards and hairpins.
What to expect
If you have concerns about lying in a small, enclosed space, mild sedation can help you comfortably complete the exam. Please discuss these concerns with your doctor prior to the exam to obtain the necessary medications.
Before your exam, a radiologic technologist will ask you to change into a gown and remove all loose or foreign metal objects such as jewelry, watches, dentures, credit cards and hairpins. Prior to entering the exam room, the technologist will screen your body with a metal detector to ensure your safety. You will be asked to lie on the examining table, usually on your back, and to wear the provided ear plugs. Depending on the area of the body to be examined, you may need a contrast agent to help produce clear images. Most contrast agents are injected into your body through a small IV needle. Please inform the technologist if you are allergic to gadolinium or have had contrast reactions during a previous MRI.
Once the exam begins, the table will move inside a large tunnel-like opening that houses the magnet. While the machine is running and images are being taken, you will hear a variety of knocking and buzzing noises, which may become quite loud. It is very important that you lie completely still throughout the entire exam so the images are clear.
The technologist will monitor the machine from a computer in an adjacent room. He or she will be able to see, hear and communicate with you at all times. You will be able to talk with the technologist through an intercom system.
If you are pregnant, MRI is not recommended. Please inform the radiologic technologist if you are pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant.
In general, most exams take between 45 minutes and 1 hour, but can take up to 2 hours to complete. A radiologist will interpret the MRI and your doctor will discuss the results of the scan with you.
Commonly asked questions
Can I see my images?
- Your images will be available to your doctor in 24-48 hours in the event you would like to view the MRI images.
When will I get my results?
- Your doctor should contact you within 2-3 working days. Feel free to contact their office if you do not hear from them.
How long does the test take?
- Most exams take between 45 minutes and 1 hour, but can take up to 2 hours to complete.