Magnetic Resonance Imaging 

What is MRI?

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), is an imaging technique that creates detailed, high-definition images of the inside of the body. It uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves, and a computer to produce these pictures which are then analyzed by a radiologist. An MRI scan is a non-invasive and painless procedure.

Unlike X-rays and CT (Computed Tomography), MRI does not use radiation. This makes it a particularly safe choice for imaging soft tissues and organs like the brain, spinal cord, muscles, and heart. The absence of radiation means that you can establish a baseline with an initial scan and then have repeated scans to monitor progress or changes over time. This can be done without worry of the cumulative effects of radiation, offering a significant advantage in both safety and long-term patient care.

What is MRA?

MRA (Magnetic Resonance Angiography), is a type of MRI scan that is specialized in visualizing blood vessels. Using the same magnetic fields and radio waves as a traditional MRI, it creates detailed images of arteries and veins. This method allows for a simple approach to identifying irregularities or issues within the blood vessels. It's a common choice for examining the condition of the vascular system.

What does an MRI look at?

MRI excels at imaging soft tissues, such as organs, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and blood vessels and bone structures in the body.

It can look at, and evaluate several different areas inside your body, including:

  • The spine and spinal cord
  • The brain and surrounding nerve tissues
  • Organs in your chest and abdomen
  • Pelvic organs
  • Blood vessels
  • Lymph nodes
  • Skeletal system

View our available scans to find what best suits your situation.

MRI with or without contrast?

While non-contrast MRI scans are often the standard and initial imaging method, there are instances when finer details are required and contrast becomes necessary, particularly when assessing conditions such as tumors, infections, or inflammation. In these cases, a contrast agent is injected into your body to help make specific areas or tissues more visible on the images.

While rare, some patients can have an allergic reaction to the contrast, so it should only be used when a doctor thinks it's necessary for the patient's medical condition.

Note: Imago MRI only performs scans without contrast. If you need a scan with contrast don't hesitate to reach out to us. We'd be happy to help you find a suitable facility that can provide this service.

What conditions can MRI  help identify?

An MRI is exceptional at establishing a baseline, as it offers incredibly detailed images of the body's structures and tissues, enabling precise comparisons over time and assisting in identifying any changes or abnormalities at their earliest stages.

MRI can help identify a wide range of symptoms and medical conditions including, but not limited to:

Organ injury or disease

    • Brain conditions: Strokes, tumors, bleeding, inflammation, or infections.
    • Heart issues: Damage from heart attacks, congenital heart defects, or heart disease.
    • Reproductive organ conditions: Uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, or endometriosis.
    • Digestive organ diseases: Cirrhosis or liver tumors, pancreatic conditions like pancreatitis, and inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's disease.

Spinal injury or disease

    • Herniated discs
    • Spinal stenosis
    • Spinal cord Injuries
    • Spinal tumors
    • Spinal infections
    • Degenerative disc disease

Soft tissue or bone injury

    • Torn or detached ligaments, tendons, muscles and cartilage such as:
      •  Sprains and strains 
      •  ACL injuries
      •  Meniscal tears
      •  Achilles tendon ruptures
      •  Rotator cuff tears
    • Joint injury or abnormalities
    • Nerve compression
    • Cartilage loss
    • Bone bruises
    • Stress fractures

Unexplained symptoms

    • Constant or severe headaches
    • Persistent back or neck pain
    • Dizziness or problems with balance
    • Trouble hearing or ringing in the ears
    • Changes in vision or double vision
    • Unexplained weakness or numbness
    • Difficulty with speech or swallowing
    • Memory problems or changes in behavior
    • Seizures without a known cause
    • Unusual lumps or growths

What is the difference between a screening and a diagnostic MRI?

As individuals increasingly take charge of their health, screening MRI is gaining popularity as a proactive approach to healthcare, so what's the difference?

Screening MRI is a preventive measure used to detect potential health issues before symptoms appear, particularly in individuals at high risk for certain diseases. It's part of a routine check-up for early detection, aiming to catch diseases like cancer at an early, more treatable stage.

Diagnostic MRI, on the other hand, is used to diagnose or provide more information about a condition when there are already symptoms present or following abnormal results from other tests.

Is MRI safe?

MRI is generally considered very safe for most people, including children and pregnant women, as it uses magnetic fields and radio waves rather than radiation. While the strong magnetic field doesn't cause any harm to the body, it can interact with certain medical devices, like pacemakers, cochlear implants, and some metal surgical clips. This interaction can affect the function of these devices or lead to image distortions, like artifacts (bright or dark spots), and reduced clarity of the structures being scanned.
Many devices are MRI compatible, and most individuals who have metal implants can safely undergo an MRI, but there are a few exceptions. Please call us if you have any implanted devices before scheduling your scan.

What is the difference between MRI and CT?

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and CT (Computed Tomography) scans are both advanced tools for internal imaging. An MRI uses the power of magnets and radio waves to create in-depth images and is unparalleled in visualizing soft tissues, including the brain, muscles, and ligaments. It can also detect subtle bone injuries like bruises or stress fractures that are often undetectable with other methods.

CT scans, on the other hand, use X-rays to efficiently visualize dense bone structures, making them ideal for diagnosing complex fractures and assessing alignment. Additionally, they provide rapid and clear images of internal organs, especially the lungs, making them indispensable in time-sensitive diagnostic situations.

One of the key differences is that MRI doesn't use radiation, making it a safer choice for repeated use.

MRI Safety checklist

It's important to inform us if any of the following apply to you:

  • You have a medical device such as a pacemaker, cochlear implants, neurostimulators

  • You have metal implants, such as joint replacements, plates, screws, or pins

  • You have vessel coils, filters, stents, or clips

  • You have metallic foreign objects in your body, such as shrapnel or bullet fragments

  • You have a body piercing

  • You have tattoos or permanent makeup

  • You are pregnant or think you might be pregnant

  • You are claustrophobic

  • You are unable to lie down for more than 30 minutes

How much does an MRI cost?

For information on pricing and payment methods, please see our scan offerings and packages.

Preparing for imaging

Find out how to prepare for your scan, what to expect during the process, and all the relevant steps and guidelines.