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MRI Spine (Cervical, Thoracic, or Lumbar Spine)

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a safe and painless procedure. MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues within your body without the use of ionizing radiation. Depending on what your medical provider is looking for, this test may be ordered with or without IV contrast.

What Is Intravenous Contrast (IV) Media?

To improve the visibility of soft tissues, like organs, muscles, tendons and blood vessels in many parts of the body, the technologist must inject contrast media into a vein. Some people refer to this as “dye” although it’s not like the dye you may use at home. The contrast media used in MRI is a non-iodine, gadolinium-based contrast agent that improves the diagnostic accuracy of an MRI scan. It leaves the body through the kidney but will not change the color of your urine.

What to Bring

  • Your medical provider order (your medical provider may have already sent this to us)
  • Personal ID
  • Insurance Card
  • If you have an MRI safe implant, please bring your implant card and any remote device.

How to Prepare

  • You should inform your medical provider if you have any allergies to contrast materials.
  • Unless your healthcare team or The MRI technologist tells you otherwise, you may follow your regular routine and take medication as usual.
  • You should inform your medical provider if you have claustrophobia and need a form of sedation.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing, and avoid clothing with zippers, buttons or belts made of metal.
  • Please leave valuable jewelry at home.
  • If you suspect you might be pregnant, please inform the imaging technologist.
  • If you have a history of kidney problems, you should inform the technologist.
  • If you have had an adverse reaction during a prior MRI, you should inform the technologist.
  • If you have claustrophobia, you should inform the technologist.
  • If you are wearing an on-body medication pump or any pain patches, you should inform the technologist.
  • If you have any internal implants, such as pain pump, pacemaker, defibrillator, loop recorder, stimulator, etc., you should inform the technologist.

What to Expect

  • This is a noninvasive exam.
  • You may be asked to remove clothing and to wear a gown during your exam.
  • You may be asked to remove jewelry, glasses, and any metal objects or clothing that may interfere with the images.
  • During the exam you will be placed on a table and positioned inside the center of a large tube-like scanner with openings at both ends.
  • The machine makes a significant amount of noise, so hearing protection will be provided. The table moves forward into the scanner and out when the study has been completed. The study is not painful.
  • You will be given a squeeze ball. This will be your way of getting in touch with the MRI technologist during your MRI. If you have any questions or feel any discomfort during the exam, you can squeeze the ball and the MRI technologist will address any issue you may be encountering.
  • If your medical provider ordered IV contrast, the technologist will start an IV in a vein in your arm. The contrast will be injected through the IV. You may feel a cool sensation going up your arm.
  • For a non-contrast exam, it should take about 20 minutes. For a contrast exam, it should take about 40 minutes allowing time for the technologist to start your IV.

Screening Forms for This Test

  • Before scan, The MRI technologist will go over a series of questions and have you sign a screening form for any metal or mechanical implants in the body to ensure you have been cleared to go into the Magnet.
  • Included in this form is a contrast acknowledgement section. If your exam is ordered with contrast, the technologist will read you a statement and will ask for your signature that confirms you agree to receiving the IV contrast.

Magnetic Resonance imaging (MRI) is a safe and painless procedure. MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues within your body without the use of ionizing radiation. Depending on what your doctor is looking for, this test may be ordered with or without IV contrast.

TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT

Call North Oaks Scheduling between 7 am and 5:30 pm.
Hammond: (985) 230-7777
Livingston: (225) 686-4899

If you are a provider and need to send an order, please send it via fax to (985) 230-6781.

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