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We realize that medical procedures can be stressful and we are committed to make your visit as comfortable as possible. Our objective is to assure the satisfaction of our patients and referring physicians. We are Montana's FIRST (Siemens) Multi- Channel MRI system to provide you and your physician with unsurpassed medical imaging quality in making a definitive diagnosis. We are staffed with Board Registered medical professionals with unsurpassed clinical expertise.

What is MRI?

MRI is painless. There is no radiation and there are no harmful side effect.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a special radiological test that gives very clear, detailed pictures of organs and structures in the body. The test uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to create images in cross-section. Images are taken in a number of different levels or planes, which is one of the reasons why this test is so useful. While an x-ray is very good at showing bones, an MRI is especially useful at showing structures made of soft tissue (non-bony tissue) such as ligaments and cartilage and organs such as the eyes, brain and heart.

When is MRI Needed?

MRI Scans are useful in a number of areas.

Diagnosing brain disorders. MRI can give very detailed images of the brain. A routine MRI brain scan takes approximately 30 minutes. MRI is now routinely used in the diagnosis of many different brain disorders, including multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, strokes, dementia, vertigo, tinnitus and epilepsy.

Viewing the Spine. MRI can picture large areas of the spine. To scan the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine. MRI is excellent for detecting degenerative disease in the spine. It can accurately show disc disease ('prolapsed disc' or 'slipped disc'), the level at which disk disease occurs and if a disc is compressing spinal nerves.

Analyzing the size and location of tumors. Tumors in various parts of the body can be detected and measured by MRI. Repeat MRI scans are used to show shrinking or decreases in the size of the tumor after treatment and to rule out tumor recurrence after surgery.

Evaluating joints and soft tissue. MRI is of particular use in the evaluation of tendons, ligaments and cartilage structures in and around most joints. It is excellent at evaluating muscle swelling or masses. Even subtle fractures such as scaphoid fractures can be detected by MRI. The knee is probably the most imaged by MRI (cartilage and ligament tears). MRI is also used to detect cartilage tears and soft tissue injury in the shoulder joint. MRI of hips is excellent at picking up a condition called avascular necrosis.

Assessing disorders of the eyes and ears. MRI is a diagnostic tool in the assessment of inaccessible areas like the back of the eye or inner ear.

Evaluating injuries. Torn knee ligaments or cartilages show up well on an MRI, helping your doctor decide whether or not you need surgery. MRI is also useful for injuries involving the shoulder, back or neck.

How Do I Prepare?

If you have a pacemaker you cannot have an MRI because the test may damage it.

If you have metal fragments in your eyes you may not be able to have an MRI because the test may injure your eyes.

No special preparation is needed before an MRI scan. You may eat normally and take your usual medications. If you are having a scan of the lower body (pelvis or abdomen), you will be asked not to eat or drink for about five hours before your appoinment.

Wear loose, comfortable clothing without metal fastenings such as zippers or clasps because metal will interfere with the test (don't forget metal underwire bras). Please do not wear jewelry i.e. Earrings, necklace, watches, bracelets, etc.

Tell the doctor if you have any metal in your body (such as plates, surgical clips, certain artificial heart valves or screws from a previous surgery).

Dental fillings and bridges, hip and knee replacements and tubal ligation clips are not a problem. Ask the radiologist if you are in doubt.

What is the Procedure?

You lie down on a special bed that moves into a tunnel-shaped magnet that is open on both ends. If you get nervous when you are in small enclosed spaces, your doctor can prescribe something to help you relax. There will be plenty of light and air and you will not be left alone. Help and assistance will be available throughout the procedure.

Most MRIs take between 30 and 60 minutes. You will have to be very still during the procedure so that the pictures will not be blurry. You will hear loud knocking and pounding type sounds while the pictures are being performed. You usually wear headphones so that the noise doesn't sound so loud and to allow you to listen to background music.

As there is no radiation the scanning room is perfectly safe. You may be allowed to bring a friend and children may have a parent acompany them.

MRI scans require a specialist's interpretation so you will not know your results immediately. The results will be sent to your doctor and they will discuss the results with you.