What is Magnetic Resonance Imaging?
MRIs offer several distinct advantages over other imaging methods. The images captured by an MRI are extremely precise and each exam produces hundreds of images that are cross-sectional in all three directions (side-to-side, top-to-bottom, and front-to-back). These images allow your radiologist to examine the scanned area in great detail from a variety of angles, one segment at a time. MRI technology does not use X-rays (radiation) and is considered safe and relatively easy for patients. Some MRI examinations include the use of a contrast agent or dye to enhance the images.
The right scanner for you.
Oregon Advanced Imaging has the largest selection of MRI scanners in our region.
- Panorama 1.0T MRI
The Panorama 1.0T MRI, located at Providence Central Point Medical Plaza was designed with patient comfort in mind. The open structure is especially well suited for large, anxious or claustrophobic patients. The open MRI also allows for comfortable joint positioning which is ideal for musculoskeletal imaging.
- Symphony 1.5T MRI
The Symphony 1.5T MRI system is offered at our Providence Medford Medical Center location and is considered the industry standard in high-field MRI scanners. The Symphony provides excellent image quality in short scan times.
- Espree 1.5T MRI
The Espree 1.5T MRI is located at our Navigator Landing imaging center. The Espree “high field open-bore” MRI offers the same high resolution as the Symphony 1.5 Tesla MRI systems, but with a larger diameter opening and a much shorter magnet. With the opening increased to 27 inches in diameter and a shorter scanning area, the open-bore Espree helps alleviate the “tunnel feeling” that some patients may find confining. Due to these enhanced design features, the Espree MRI is the optimal imaging machine for larger or claustrophobic patients. The Espree is also equipped with sophisticated breast imaging coils for enhanced breast MRI imaging.
- Trio 3T MRI
The Trio 3T MRI, located at our Navigator’s Landing imaging center, is OAI’s newest scanner. With twice the field strength, the 3T MRI is especially useful in the examination of neurological, vascular, and musculoskeletal conditions. The 3T MRI has also made great strides toward patient comfort. The new scanner can accommodate patients up to 440 pounds, and for claustrophobic patients, many exams can now be completed feet-first.
MRI Frequently Asked Questions
At Oregon Advanced imaging, we work to ensure your MRI examination is comfortable and accurate. Please read our MRI FAQ page and call with any questions.
- How is an MRI different from an X-ray?
An MRI machine is a large magnet that uses radio waves to produce pictures of the body. During an MRI you are not exposed to radiation. An MRI scan typically takes 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the body part being imaged.
How is an X-ray different from an MRI?
X-rays use radiation to acquire images of the body. The amount of radiation a patient is exposed to is low. It can be compared to a short airplane flight of 1-2 hours.
An X-ray typically takes less than 15 minutes for the entire procedure depending on how may body parts are being imaged.
- How does MRI technology work?
The MRI scanner is a large, cylindrical machine that uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves (not x-rays or radiation) to “see” detailed images inside your body. The MRI system uses the magnetic field to control radio waves in a pattern around a section of your body. As these radio signals pass through your body, the atoms and molecules of your tissues resonate, releasing signals and creating an image.
- What does an MRI exam feel like?
An MRI scan is painless; there are no known side effects following an MRI examination. You may feel warmth in the area being imaged – this is normal. For some patients, keeping still may be slightly uncomfortable. The MRI exam is fairly noisy. You will hear the hum of the machine, clicking, and loud inconsistent, thumping sounds as the magnetic field is created and pulses of radio waves are sent from the scanner.
- How long will my scan take?
Depending on the type of scan you will receive, the length of the procedure typically takes be between 30 and 40 minutes. More involved MRI examinations may take longer.
- What are the advantages of MRI?
MRI is a diagnostic scanning technique that produces detailed images of structures within the body. It shows a greater contrast between normal and abnormal tissues than other imaging techniques, making it a valuable tool for diagnosing tumors, viewing tissue damage, and examining blood flow. MRI can help with early detection for better treatment, as clearer images mean more accurate diagnosis. Through brain and spine scans, MRI can detect multiple sclerosis in its earliest stages, tumors, brain and spine disease, and fluid in the skull. Heart scans can show plaque build-up in arteries. Cancer and other diseases can be detected in the kidneys, ovaries, uterus, liver, and other areas of the body. MRI imaging is also a vital part of diagnosing sports injuries and MRI is finding an increasing role in diagnostic mammography.
- What does MRI scan?
- brain, vessels of the brain, eyes, inner ear
- neck, shoulders, cervical spine, and blood vessels of the neck
- heart, aorta, and coronary arteries
- thoracic and lumbar spine
- upper abdomen, liver, kidney, spleen, pancreas, and other abdominal vessels
- pelvis and hips, male and female reproductive system, and bladder
- musculoskeletal system, including joints in the shoulder, knee, wrist, ankles, and feet.
- Can I have an MRI if I have fillings or braces?
Yes. The metal in most fillings and in braces is not affected by the MRI magnetic field. However, the fillings and braces may cause some distortion of the images if you are having a scan of your neck, brain or facial area.
- Will a contrast agent (dye) be given for the MRI scan?
Gadolinium-based contrast can provide additional valuable information for many MRI or MRA examinations and is commonly used to highlight specific body regions or areas of your vascular system. OAI has closely monitored new findings regarding the disease known as Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis or Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy (NSF/NFD), which may occur in rare instances in patients with moderate to end-stage kidney disease after they have had a MRI or MRA scan with a gadolinium-based contrast agent.To ensure the highest quality service and care, OAI has adopted the screening guidelines recommended by the American College of Radiology (ACR) regarding administration of contrast during an MRI or MRA exam.
When scheduling your appointment you will be asked if you have any of the following conditions:
- Kidney problems/renal disease
- Hepatic disease/liver transplant/pending liver transplant
- On prescription medication for hypertension
- On prescription medication for diabetes
- Age 60 or older
If any of the above risk factors apply, OAI will request a blood test to determine your BUN/Creatinine level and estimated GFR. If your GFR is lower than 60, the radiologist will review your medical history, evaluate the risks and benefits of contrast administration, and discuss the situation with your ordering physician if deemed necessary. OAI staff will explain the radiologist’s decision at the time of your appointment.
- Can I move during the MRI scan?
Relax and try to lie as still as possible when you are inside the scanner and when you hear the loud thumping sounds. Any movement can blur the images. For most MRI exams, you may reposition your arms or scratch an itch between image sequences, which last several minutes. However, it is important that you not move the body part being imaged until the entire exam is complete. Some MRI exams of the chest and abdomen may require that you hold your breath for 10 to 25 seconds at a time. This eliminates blurring in the image caused by breathing or other patient motion.
MRI Exam Preparation
At Oregon Advanced Imaging, we aim to ensure you receive the highest level of imaging service. Our caring staff will work to make your experience as comfortable and easy as possible.
- Getting Ready for your MRI
- Our staff will contact you prior to your scheduled appointment for pre-registration and/or confirmation. Due to MRI and MRA technology, it is important to let our schedulers know if you have any metal implants, such as a pacemaker.
- We recommend contacting your insurance company regarding benefits and coverage prior to your appointment date. Please bring your insurance information (i.e. medical insurance cards, worker’s compensation info, etc.), along with your driver’s license or other form of I.D.
- Depending on your insurance coverage, you may be asked to pay a small percentage of your scanning fee on the day of your exam. Our billing department can provide the estimated amount prior to your appointment. Please call our billing department at 541-608-0350 for assistance. We gladly accept MasterCard, Visa, checks or cash.
- You may eat, drink, and take medications as usual, unless you are advised differently.
- OAI will supply you with comfortable pants and a gown. Please remove all other metal items such as jewelry, watches, hearing aids, etc. A secure storage locker is provided for your convenience.
- Please allow approximately an hour and a half for your MRI or MRA appointment. Actual scanning time will take between 30-60 minutes depending on the type of exam. Please note: if you are having multiple scans, the exam time will take longer.
- What to Expect During Your MRI Exam
- Our expert staff will make sure you are comfortable during every phase of the exam. Should you have any concerns, you will be able to communicate with the technologists throughout the exam via a two-way intercom system.
- During the exam you will hear loud thumping sounds, but you will feel no physical sensations. The loud thumping is inherent in all MRI scanning machines, but may surprise you when you first hear it. There is no need for alarm as the sound is normal. Ear plugs and music headphones are available at all of our imaging centers.
- For optimal imaging quality, you will need to remain as still as possible during the exam.
- The technologists will provide pillows and support pads to make you as comfortable as possible during your procedure. In some instances, an IV tube will be placed in your arm to administer gadolinium, which is a contrast agent that helps create better images in specific MRIs and MRAs. If contrast is used, OAI may request a blood test to confirm your kidneys are functioning sufficiently.
- The MRI scanner has adequate space for most people. If you have difficulty with confined areas, call us in advance for assistance at 541-608-0350. If you will be taking a sedative prescribed by your physician, or receiving sedation, please plan to have someone drive you to and from your appointment.
- Our radiologists will promptly interpret your MRI images and send a report directly to your doctor. Your doctor will contact you with your exam results in approximately 3-5 workdays.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) provides a way to “see” detailed images inside your body without the use of x-rays. MRI uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to display detailed views of internal structures such as your brain, spine, skeleton, chest, breast, joints, and nerves.