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What is an MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an imaging test that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio waves to take pictures of internal organs and structures.

What are some common reasons why an MRI is performed?
MRIs are often used to detect tumors, infections, internal bleeding, and internal injuries. MRIs can be used to study different body parts such as:

  • Abdomen and pelvis
    • Detect problems in your liver, gallbladder, pancreas, kidneys, and bladder
    • Detect tumors, bleeding, infections, and blockages
    • Study the uterus and ovaries in women
    • Study the prostate in men
  • Arthrography
    • Contrast material is injected into a joint space.
    • Examines your bone joints and detect problems in your shoulder, hip, and knee
  • Bones and joints
    • Detect arthritis, problems with your temporomandibular joint, problems with bone marrow, bone tumors, cartilage problems, torn ligaments or tendons
    • Confirm that a bone is broken if X-rays are not clear
  • Chest
    • Study your heart, heart valves, and coronary blood vessels
    • Detect damage in your heart or lungs
    • Look for breast or lung cancer
  • Head
    • Detect tumors, aneurysms, bleeding in your brain, damage caused by stroke, and problems of your eyes or ears
  • Spine
    • Evaluate the discs and nerves of your spine

Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) is a special type of MRI that examines arteries and their blood flow. Contrast material may be used to help see arteries more clearly.

Magnetic resonance venography (MRV) is a special type of MRI that examines veins and their blood flow. Contrast material may be used to help see veins more clearly.

How is an MRI performed?
You will be instructed about what to wear to your appointment, what to eat before the test, how the test will be performed, and how the test will feel.

During an MRI, you will lie on your back on a table that is part of the MRI scanner. You will need to remain still during the test. The table will slide into the space that contains the magnet. Pictures will then be taken.

How do I schedule an MRI, MRA, or MRV?
MRIs, MRAs, and MRVs can be performed at Sacred Heart Hospital and Sacred Heart Imaging Northampton, an affiliate of Sacred Heart HealthCare System.

To schedule an MRI, MRA, or MRV at Sacred Heart Hospital, please call One Call Scheduling at 610-776-5180.

To schedule an MRI, MRA, or MRV at Sacred Heart Imaging Northampton, please call 610-262-6622.

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