There are many reasons a doctor may send you to get an MRI, such as diagnosing a brain tumor, stroke, or spinal abnormality. Although your doctor may refer you to an imaging provider, it is important to ensure that provider will fit your specific needs and medical history before you schedule an appointment. You have the freedom to choose the best imaging provider for you and conduct your own research. Being screened at a provider that values comfort and accuracy can make the entire process far less stressful. Before you call to schedule an MRI, there are a few questions you should ask to ensure you receive the best possible care.
What type of MRI scanner/technology will be used?
The type and condition of the scanner used during your MRI can have a large impact on the quality of your results. It is crucial to ask potential providers what technology their clinic uses to ensure your results are clear and accurate. All scanners use one of two magnetic fields to conduct a scan: high field or low field. High field machines, classified by having a magnetic field of 1.5 Tesla or greater, garner the highest-quality images. Using a high field machine is extremely important when scanning the brain or the core of the body because it allows for greater attention to detail when looking for abnormalities. No matter which magnetic field the scanner uses, no scanner should be in use longer than five years to avoid malfunctions and unclear results.
Not only is the technology of the scanner important, so is the size. Wide-bore or open-bore machines typically have two times more room for patients than older scanners. These machines have a high image quality, reduce anxiety and feelings of claustrophobia in some patients, and can accommodate clients up to 550 pounds. But, do not confuse open-bore and open scanners. Open scanners are usually open on 3 sides to increase comfort, but they produce an inferior image. Open scanners should only be used for patients with extreme claustrophobia.
Is this provider properly equipped for my specific scan?
It is important to know that your provider has the equipment and knowledge to properly conduct your specific scan. Every MRI scanner is controlled by protocols, series of commands that dictate how the scan is executed. Certain protocols can reduce sensitivity and produce a clearer image for scans of specific areas of the body, especially the brain. Do some research beforehand about which protocols are best for your medical history and scan type, then ask your imaging provider if they are able to use those protocols or something similar on their machines.
How does the provider report my results?
Lastly, ask your provider what they do with the results after your scan is complete. If they relay results to you immediately after the scan, are their technicians qualified to read the scans? How quickly will the scan be sent to your doctor? You want to use an imaging provider that will get you correct and efficient results, because MRIs can determine the next steps in your diagnosis or treatment.
At Maryville Imaging, we use a high-field, wide-bore MRI machine to maximize comfort and accuracy. We schedule appointments quickly and conveniently, and we are often able to see patients just one day after they call our office. We guarantee 24-48 hour turnaround for most results and can offer STAT results after your exam has been completed. Our radiologists are all certified by the American Board of Radiologists and have extensive experience in the field, along with our highly respected technologists. Want to learn more about our services or schedule an MRI? Give us a call at (618) 228- 4929!