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Open MRI

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General Information About Open MRI

Open Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or Open MRI, is a very patient-friendly scan that is quieter and more comfortable for patients than a closed MRI. Open MRI gathers information about your body using a magnet, radio waves, and a computer to create detailed internal images of the body and transmits them for your doctor to see.

Claustrophobic and obese patients as well as those feeling anxious or concerned are often able to comfortably undergo Open MRI examinations. It features a large and comfortable bed and opening, reduced noise and allows patients to relax during the exam. In addition to enhanced comfort, this technology features high-field technology to provide outstanding image quality.

The Open MRI unit is available at St. Paul Radiology Downtown Campus.

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Select Imaging Procedures


Brain MRI Without & With Contrast

MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of the brain. The images acquired are used to diagnose and detect normal, diseased, or injured brain and assist in determining how the brain is functioning, as well as for assessing the potential risks of surgery or other invasive treatments of the brain. This MRI examination will require the patient to receive an injection of contrast into the bloodstream. The contrast material used for an MRI exam, called gadolinium, does not contain iodine and is less likely to cause side effects or an allergic reaction.


MRI Lumbar Spine Without Contrast

This exam shows the anatomy of the vertebrae that make up the spine, as well as the disks, spinal cord and the spaces between the vertebrae through which nerves pass. In this procedure, only the lumbar (lower) portion of the spine will be imaged.


MRI of Joint Lower Extremity

This exam produce detailed pictures of the body's major joints to diagnose or evaluate degenerative joint disorders such as arthritis and meniscus tears (knee), joint abnormalities due to trauma, tumors involving joints, and pain, swelling or bleeding in the tissues in and around the joints.


MRI Cervical Spine Without Contrast

MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures that show the anatomy of the vertebrae that make up the spine, as well as the disks, spinal cord and the spaces between the vertebrae through which nerves pass. In this procedure, only the cervical (neck) portion of the spine will be imaged.


Brain MRI Without Contrast

This exam produces detailed pictures of the brain. The images acquired are used to diagnose and detect normal, diseased, or injured brain and assist in determining how the brain is functioning, as well as for assessing the potential risks of surgery or other invasive treatments of the brain. This MRI examination does not require the patient to swallow contrast material or receive an injection of contrast into the bloodstream. The contrast material used for an MRI exam, called gadolinium, does not contain iodine and is less likely to cause side effects or an allergic reaction.


MRI Angiography Without & With Contrast

In magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer produce detailed images and is used to examine blood vessels in the brain to identify the effects of a stroke, other disease and/or aneurysms. The brain MRA is also used for surgical planning and treatment.


MRI Joint Upper Extremity Without Contrast

MRI imaging uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of the body's major joints to diagnose or evaluate degenerative joint disorders such as arthritis, joint abnormalities due to trauma, tumors involving joints, and pain, swelling or bleeding in the tissues in and around the joints.

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Download Procedure Preparation Information


Questions About Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)


Question: What is MRI?

Answer: Your physician has ordered a diagnostic procedure known as Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI. MRI uses a magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to create extremely detailed images of the human body. Before your exam begins, an MRI technologist will ask you some medical questions, explain your procedure and assist you into the MRI room. You will be asked to lie on a padded table, which will move into the magnet opening, and your exam will begin.


Question: What information will I need to provide prior to my MRI examination?

Answer: You will be asked to complete a medical questionnaire that will assist the technologist in assuring that the highest quality exam is performed.

IMPORTANT: Please make sure your physician and the technologist performing your exam know if you have a pacemaker, prosthesis, aneurysm clips, metal implants or other metal objects in your body. If you know you have had metal in your eyes, please inform us, as you may require an additional study prior to your MRI.


Question: What should I wear to my appointment?

Answer: It is best to dress in comfortable clothing that does not have zippers or other metal fasteners. If you cannot wear this to your exam, our facilities will provide cloth gowns or robes. Lockers are available to store your personal belongings.


Question: Is there any preparation on my part prior to my MRI?

Answer: Most MRI examinations require no preparation. However, for exams that do require preparation, information will be provided to you by your physician’s office.


Question: What should I bring to my appointment?

Answer: Please bring your insurance card. Your insurance company will be billed for the procedure. You will receive a bill for any co-pay or non-covered expenses from Midwest Radiology.


Question: May I move during the examination?

Answer: It is important to remain as still as possible. Your technologist may ask you to hold your breath. If you have special needs, please let your technologist know.


Question: Is an MRI painful?

Answer: The procedure is painless. You will hear a knocking sound as each series of images is taken.


Questions About Magnetic Resonance Elastography (MRE)


Question: What is Magnetic Resonance Elastography(MRE) MRE?

Answer: Your physician has ordered a diagnostic procedure known as Magnetic Resonance Elastography of the Liver or MRE. MRE uses a magnetic field, radio waves and acoustic driver to create shear waves in a liver, which is harmless, similar to liver palpation by a physician. Before your procedure begins MRI technologist will explain the imaging procedure and will ask you to sign a consent form, because the MRE is a procedure developed at Mayo Clinic ─ Rochester by Dr. Ehman and his group. During MRE mechanical waves are generated in tissue and a remarkably sensitive phase-contrast MRI technique, using synchronous motion-sensitizing gradients, is used to directly image the pattern of wave propagation. Specially developed mathematical algorithms are used to analyze the wave images and to generate quantitative images depicting the stiffness and other mechanical properties of tissue. The MRE technology high sensitivity for liver disease has allowed physicians to spare many patients from having a painful, unnecessary ─ and more expensive ─ liver biopsy.


Question: Is there any preparation on my part prior to MRE?

Answer: Most MRE examinations require no preparation. However, for exams that do require preparation, information will be provided to you by your physician’s office.


Question: Is an MRE painful?

Answer: The procedure is painless. You will hear a knocking sound as images taken and vibration around the liver area only during elastography series, MRI technologist will notify when the series will start.


Question: Can I eat or drink before my exam?

Answer: Please do not eat or drink anything before your exam. You are allowed to drink water up to 8 hours prior to your procedure, and preferably beginning at 12 am (midnight) the night before your procedure.


Question: What should I wear to my examination?

Answer: Please wear comfortable clothing that do not have zippers or any metal fasteners. All metal and jewelry will need to be removed before the examination.


Question: What information will I need to provide prior to my MRE examination?

Answer: IMPORTANT: Please make sure your physician and the technologist performing your exam know if you have a pacemaker, prosthesis, aneurysm clips, metal implants or other metal objects in your body. If you are, or think you may be pregnant, tell your physician.


Question: What should I bring to my procedure?

Answer: Please bring your insurance card. Your insurance company will be billed for the procedure.


Question: What will I experience during my MRE exam?

Answer: Before your exam, we will give you a special barium solution to drink at 15 to 20 minute intervals to help us better evaluate your stomach and bowel.


Question: May I move during the examination?

Answer: It is important to remain as still as possible. Your technologist may ask you to hold your breath. If you have special needs, please let your technologist know.


Question: How long with my exam last?

Answer: Most MRE exams last less than 45 minutes.


Question: How will I receive my CT scan results?

Answer: A Board Certified Radiologist (a physician who specializes in interpreting diagnostic images) will study the images from your examination and send a report to your physician.