Radiology Exams

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

MRI exams are only offered at Watson Imaging’s St. Joseph, Missouri location.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, is an advanced, state-of-the-art method that produces very clear pictures, or images, of the human body without the use of X-rays. MRIs use a powerful, but harmless, magnetic field and radio waves, much like the kind that transmit your favorite FM station. The combination of the magnetic field and radio waves produce detailed images of body structures such as the brain, the spine, and other vital organs.

Why is it done?
MRI provides an uparalleled view inside your body.  It has become the prefereed procedure for diagnosing a large number of poternial problems in many different parts of the body.  Physicians use an MRI scan not only in defining anatomy but in evaluating the intergirty of the spinal cord after trauma.  An MRI scan can evaluate the structure of the heart and aorta.  It provides valuable information on glands and organs withing the abdomen as well as information about the sturcture of the joints, soft tissues and bone of the body.

How safe is MRI?
The powerful magnetic field of the MR system will attract iron-containing (also known as ferromagnetic) objects and may cause them to move suddenly and with great force. This can pose a possible risk to the patient or anyone in an object’s flight path. Great care is taken to be certain that objects such as “ferromagnetic” screwdrivers and oxygen tanks are not brought into the MR system area. It is vital that you remove any metallic belongings in advance of an MRI exam, including watches, jewelry, and items of clothing that have metallic threads or fasteners.

The powerful magnetic field of the MR system will pull on any iron-containing object in the body, such as certain medication pumps or aneurysm clips. Every MRI facility has a protocol that, when carefully followed, will ensure that the MRI technologist and radiologist knows about the presence of metallic implants and materials so that special precautions can be taken. In some unusual cases the exam may have to be canceled. An example is MRI of the head when a “ferromagnetic” aneurysm clip is present, because there is a risk of the clip moving or being dislodged. The magnetic field may damage an external hearing aid or cause a heart pacemaker or electrical stimulator to malfunction. If you have a bullet or other metallic fragment in your body there is a potential risk that it could change position, possibly causing injury.

A metallic implant or other object may distort the MR images or make it difficult for the MRI system to “tune” to your body. This may be unavoidable, but if the radiologist knows about it, allowance can be made when interpreting the images.

For some MRI studies a contrast material called gadolinium may be injected into a vein to help interpret the exam. Unlike contrast agents used in x-ray studies, a gadolinium contrast agent does not contain iodine and therefore rarely causes an allergic reaction or other problem.

The Question of Claustrophobia
Some patients who have MRI in an enclosed scanner may feel confined, closed-in, and frightened. Perhaps one in twenty will require a sedative to remain calm. In some cases, a relative or friend may be present in the MR system room, which also has a calming effect. If patients are properly prepared and know what to expect, it is almost always possible to complete the examination without any problems.

Our diagnostic imaging staff takes care to provide you with a great experience. Please don’t hesitate to share with us any concerns ahead of or during your visit!

EXCELLENCE IN CARING   •   We genuinely care!

Schedule Your Appointment!

With our convenient office hours, many procedures can take only ten minutes or less and walk-in x-rays are welcome. Please note that we do not perform ultrasounds on Saturdays.

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St. Louis, MO - Hours
Monday - Thursday
8am - 4pm
8am - 2pm
2nd / 4th Saturday
8am - 12pm
St. Joseph, MO - Hours
Monday - Thursday
8am - 4pm