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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Phone: (254) 286-7027
Fax: (254) 286-7727
Scheduling: Monday – Friday 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
What is MRI?
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a method of looking inside the body. Instead of x-rays, the MRI scanner uses magnetism and radio waves to produce remarkably clear pictures of your head, spine, or other parts of your body. An MRI scanner consists of a strong magnet with a radio transmitter and receiver. These instruments gather the information out of your body. MRI produces soft-tissue images and is used to distinguish normal, healthy soft tissue from pathology tissue. Depending on what information your doctor needs, the MRI scan may require the use of a contrast-agent given intravenously to assist in visualization of certain structures in your body.
The MRI technologists were educated by an accredited facility and all are certified by the following organization:
- The American Registry of Radiologic Technologist (A.R.R.T.) (R)(MR)
How to Schedule an Appointment:
To schedule an appointment for a MRI at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center (CRDAMC):
- The ordering physician must enter a consultation for the requested study into CHCS.
- Patients are then requested to either go to the MRI Clinic in CRDAMC (Bldg. 36000, 1st floor) or call the MRI clinic at 286-7027 to schedule an appointment.
- Patients who receive an MRI consult from a local outside provider must hand carry their referral to the MRI Clinic at CRDAMC to be scheduled. The patient's name, sponsor's social security number, requested exam, a brief history and the ordering physicians signature must be on the order.
Appointment dates and times are available 7 days a week (excluding federal and training holiday weekends) from 6 a.m. – 10 p.m. Appointments may be scheduled either in person at the MRI clinic or you may call and schedule over the telephone. There are no walk-in appointments.
Patient Safety Tips Prior to the Procedure in Radiology.
Because of the strong magnetic field used during the exam, certain conditions may prevent you from having a MR procedure. When scheduling your appointment and prior to your exam, please alert our staff and technologist to the following conditions that may apply to you. The radiology staff will let then let you know whether you can have the MRI exam and whether the exam needs to be modified for your particular condition.
- History of kidney problems
- Skin tattoos
- Neurostimulators (TENS-unit)
- Implanted drug infusion device (i.e., insulin pump)
- Exposure of metal fragments to your eye
- Artificial heart valves
- Aneurysm clips
- Cochlear implants
- Metallic implants and prosthesis
- Vascular stent or stent graft
- History as a metal worker
- Shrapnel or bullet wounds
- Dorsal column stimulators
- Allergy to MRI contrast (gadolinium)
- History of diabetes
- Other conditions you believe to be relevant
Please leave your valuables at home, including jewelry, to prevent it from being lost or stolen, for they have to be removed prior to entering the scan room.
When you arrive at the MRI Suite, you will be asked to remove glasses, wigs, dentures and partial plates before your exam.
If you don't want to change into hospital attire, please wear clothing without any metal zippers, hooks, or buttons.
If you have claustrophobia, your doctor may prescribe an oral medication for you to take with you for your MRI appointment. If you have taken prescribed sedation medication someone MUST drive you home.
Preparation for the Procedure
There is very little preparation for an MRI procedure. You can go about your daily routine and take any medication you usually take, unless you are instructed otherwise.
Please arrive at least 15 to 20 minutes before the scheduled exam time. You may be required to fill out additional paperwork.
If the clothes that you are wearing have metal fasteners or metallic design, you will be asked to change into hospital attire. You will be supplied a locker to secure your belongings and valuables.
A technologist will verify your identification and the requested exam. Your MRI screening will be thoroughly reviewed by the technologist for any conditions that may be a contraindication for a MRI exam. If a contraindication does exist, the technologist or a radiologist will explain the issues to you, and provide you with alternative information.
During the Procedure
- The duration of the procedure will vary, but the average is 30 – 45 minutes per body part.
- You will be placed on the scan table and moved into the magnet, which is a long tunnel like structure, approximately 5 feet in length and 25 inches in diameter.
- The magnet is permanently open on both ends. It is well lit and there is a fan for patient comfort. There is also a two way intercom system for communication between patient and technologist. The part of the body being scanned will be placed in the middle of the magnet.
- The part being examined will determine if one is to be placed feet-first or head first into the magnet. During the actual imaging, you will hear a loud intermittent banging noise. You will be provided with earplugs or head phones to minimize the noise during the procedure.
- You will be asked to lie still during the actual MR scanning. Depending on the body part that is being examined, you may be instructed to hold your breath for up to 30 seconds.
- The technologist will also be providing you with an alarm button, to be used if it is necessary for you to alert the technologist of any discomfort that you may be experiencing at any point during the imaging procedure.
- Some MRI exams require an injection of intravenous (IV) contrast dye called gadolinium. Scans will be performed without the dye and then the dye will be injected into a small vein in your arm. Scans will be performed again after the injection of dye for comparison.
- At the time of the exam the technologist will explain the intravenous dye procedure in greater detail and will also ask you about your allergies and prior sensitivity to contrast agents.
- If you have kidney problems, you may or may not be able to receive the intravenous dye. Before the exam, a technologist or radiologist will discuss with you in detail whether it is appropriate for you receive the dye.
After the Procedure
- If a dye injection is used, the IV is removed from the arm before you go home.
- Allergic reaction from gadolinium dye is extremely rare. However, if you experience symptoms such as rash, hives, or shortness of breath, you should notify the MRI technologist immediately if you are still at the imaging facility, or call your doctor or go to the nearest hospital if you have already left the CRDAMC hospital facility.
- If you have taken prescribed sedation medication, received from your doctor, someone MUST drive you home.
Appointment Changes and Test Results
- If you must cancel or reschedule your appointment call the MRI Clinic receptionist at 286-7027.
- After the film is developed and read by our Radiologist, a copy of the results are sent or to your physician. Only your physician can give you the results of your MRI.
If you have young children, make arrangements for a baby-sitter or childcare before your exam date. Children are not allowed in the examination room and may not be left in the waiting room unattended.
Please feel free to contact our staff at (254)286-7653 if you have any questions or concerns.
page last modified on: 5/7/2013