Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
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What is MRI?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. MRI uses a very strong magnetic field and radio waves to create images of the body. The hydrogen atoms in the body react to the magnetic field and emit signals that are analyzed by a computer to produce images. 

MRI does not use ionizing radiation (x-rays).

Why MRI?
MRI reveals more details than other imaging modalities and is able to differentiate between healthy and diseased tissue. It does not use any ionizing radiation and is painless with no known permanent side effects.

Detailed MR images allow physicians to better evaluate various parts of the body and certain diseases that may not be assessed adequately with other imaging methods such as x-ray, ultrasound or computed tomography (also called CT or CAT scanning). View our Commonly Ordered MRI Procedures and Their Indications.

Each exam can take from 20 minutes to 1 hour and is very motion sensitive. If a patient moves during the sequence scans, there is risk of distorting the images which may have to be repeated, thus making the procedure take more time.

Contrast Media:
Some MRI exams require the injection of contrast into the veins. This is to help better visualize the anatomy and will show more detail about that particular part of the body. MRI uses a different type of contrast which works differently than that in X-ray or CT. Contrast agents may be injected intravenously to enhance the appearance of blood vessels, tumors or inflammation. In addition, contrast agents may also be directly injected into a joint in the case of arthrograms, MR images of joints.

The blood filters out the contrast through the urinary system naturally, so it is crucial that the kidneys are functioning properly. For all patients receiving intravenous contrast and are 60 years of age or older; or diabetic and/or with known renal insufficiency/compromise creatinine levels/GFRs are required. Lab results must be within 30 days prior to the procedure. Patients currently receiving dialysis will not receive Gadodiamide (Omniscan) for MRI.

Safety Screenings:
The safety questionnaire must be filled out entirely and accurately.  This will ensure that the patient does not have anything in or on the body that could cause injury or problems during the MRI.  Because the Magnet is over 45,000 times stronger than the earth's magnetic field, safety screening is very important. 

As part of screening, a patient may be required to have an x-ray before an MRI to determine if there are any metal foreign objects in a particular area of anatomy prior to going into the magnet.  Most often, it is the orbits (eyeballs) that are imaged if a patient has a history of working with metal or has had metal removed from the eyes.  Please have this done prior to arriving for a scheduled MRI.

Please click the link below to print and complete the MRI Safety screening before your scheduled appointment. You may have your ordering physician’s office print this for you to complete during your office visit. Once the screener is completed by you, your physician’s office can fax it with your order to scheduling and WDH imaging services. This will save you time and reduce the amount of paperwork when you arrive for your appointment. Your technologist will review your screener form with you prior to your imaging study.****It is important to remember to bring the completed form with you to your appointment along with any literature or documentation regarding any implants or prostheses you may have.

Please empty pockets prior to the MRI, as metal object may become projectiles in the magnetic field.

Download & Print MRI Safety Questionnaire.


MRI Glossary

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Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100