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Magnetic resonance imaging creates a remarkably clear picture of both bone and soft tissue using a strong magnetic field. Like CT scanning, MRI provides a series of cross-sectional images of the anatomy. MRI, however, accomplishes this task without radiation and is capable of producing highly detailed images of soft tissues, such as the muscles, blood vessels, brain, and other organs.

To prepare for the examination, you should take off all jewelry, as well as hairpins, eyeglasses, hearing aids, and removable dental appliances. In the examination room, the technologist will position you on the table attached to the wide-bore MRI machine. Depending on the type of examination, the technologist may ask you to drink an oral contrast agent or insert an intravenous catheter for the administration of contrast material during the course of the exam. This material helps certain organs and tissues show up more clearly.

Once you are in position, the technologist will leave the room and monitor the exam from an adjacent control room. You will remain in voice contact with the technologist through the intercom. The table will slide into position to image the appropriate area of your body. While the images are being taken, you will be asked to remain still. Depending on the type of exam, you may also be asked to hold your breath for brief periods. It is not abnormal to feel a warm sensation in the area being examined, or to feel a cool sensation at the catheter site when contrast material is injected. Some people also report a metallic taste in their mouth. The machine does produce loud tapping noises during some phases of imaging; you may wish to use earplugs, which the technologist can provide.

The length of time required for a MRI examination—including the administration of contrast, positioning, and imaging—varies according to the type of study requested by your physician, but the average is about 45 minutes. After the exam, you can resume your normal activities without restriction.

MRI services are offered at Heywood Hospital through a partnership with Alliance Imaging.

MRI services provided at Heywood Hospital include:

To schedule an MRI appointment at Heywood Hospital, please call the Heywood Hospital Scheduling Department at 978-630-5070.

For further information regarding MRI at Heywood Hospital please call (978) 630-6472.