What is an MRI scan? | Dr. Andrew Cash, MD Las Vegas, Nevada

By Brooke Strickland and Dr. Andrew Cash

You’ve just been in for a visit to your doctor and he’s ordered an MRI.  It’s likely that you have heard of MRIs before, but you might have questions as to what is involved.  Will it hurt?  How much radiation will I be exposed to? A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a painless test that gives doctors images of the soft tissues, organs, and bones of your body by using a strong magnetic field, radio frequency pules, and computer technology.   MRIs do not provide the same type of radiation that x-rays do.

MRIs can be used to diagnose a variety of medical conditions such as:

  • Tumors
  • Heart problems
  • Diseases of the liver, colon, intestine, and more
  • Causes of pelvic pain
  • Pregnancy
  • Breast cancer
  • Blockages or enlargements of specific organs
  • Cysts or fibroids

MRIs can be very helpful in finding abnormalities, diseases, or other conditions that are often obscured by other imaging techniques such as x-rays.

The MRI unit is a large cylinder-looking tube that is surrounded by a circular magnet.  To get the image, you will lay on a flat table that moves into the tube, toward the center of the magnet.  For many patients, this causes fear due to being inside an enclosed space, so if you think you will have issue with this, ask your doctor for a mild sedative to take before the procedure.  After you are inside of the tube, the computer will process a series of radio waves and signals to produce necessary images.  The scan may take several sequences of pictures in order to give the doctor a complete view.  These scans are non-invasive and are usually painless, and can be completed in 15 to 45 minutes in most cases.

Contact Dr. Cash at Desert Institute of Spine Care for more information and an appointment at: http://disclv.com.

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