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What is MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, uses a strong magnet and radio waves to provide clear and detailed diagnostic images of internal body organs, tissues, and structures. MRI is a valuable tool for the diagnosis of a broad range of conditions, including:

  • cancer
  • heart and vascular disease
  • stroke
  • joint and musculoskeletal disorders

MRI allows evaluation of some body structures that may not be as visible with other diagnostic imaging methods.

What are some common uses of MRI?

Imaging of the Musculoskeletal System : MRI is often used to study the knee, ankle, foot, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand. MRI is also a highly accurate method for evaluation of soft tissue structures such as tendons and ligaments, which are seen in great detail. Even subtle injuries are easily detected. In addition, MRI is used for the diagnosis of spinal problems including disc herniation, spinal stenosis, and spinal tumors.

Imaging for Cancer & Functional Disorders: Organs of the chest and abdomen such as the liver, kidneys, and other abdominal organs can be examined in great detail with MRI. This aids in the diagnosis and evaluation of tumors and functional disorders. MRI is sometimes used for examination of the male and female reproductive systems.

How should I prepare for an MRI?

  • Before your MRI exam, you will be asked to remove all accessories including hair pins, jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids, wigs, dentures. During the exam, these metal objects may interfere with the magnetic field, affecting the quality of the MRI images taken or may be a potential safety risk.
  • Notify your technologist if you have:
    • any prosthetic joints – hip, knee
    • a pacemaker or defibrillator
    • any metal plates, pins, screws, or surgical staples in your body
    • a bullet or shrapnel in your body, or ever worked with metal
    • if you might be pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant
    • if you are claustrophobic

What should I expect during this procedure?

Depending on how many images are needed, the exam generally takes 30 to 45 minutes. Your technologist will keep you informed of time.

  • You will lie down on a sliding table and will be comfortably positioned.
  • Even though the technologist must leave the room, you will be able to communicate with them at any time using an intercom.
  • You will be asked to remain still during the imaging process.
  • Depending on the part of the body being examined, a contrast material may be used to enhance the visibility of certain tissues or blood vessels.

What will I experience during an MRI?

  • MRI is painless.
  • PMIC MRI technology is a wide open high field strength magnet alleviating, in most cases, the feeling of claustrophobia.
  • You will hear loud tapping or thumping during the exam. Earplugs or earphones will be provided to you by the MRI center so you may listen to music if you wish.


Appointments for the Providence Imaging Center and the Providence Medical Center Radiology department can be made at 913-667-5600

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