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What to Expect With an MRI

Feb 18, 2015

When you go in for a Lithia Springs MRI test, you’re going to find out more about your body than you’ve ever known before.

What’s Under There?

That’s because an MRI looks beneath your skin, deep inside of your tissue, and shows you what is happening in three dimensions. This is quite different than an X-ray, which only looks at your body in 2 dimensions, and also just in black and white. The X-ray shows you the outline of your internal structure, and a trained doctor can generate a lot of information from that. However, it’s nothing compared with the granular display that comes from the MRI.

How Long is the Treatment?

To get that tremendous amount of information, you’re going to be put on a table where you’ll lay for the duration of the scan. This will take place over the course of anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes. In a traditionally closed MRI machine, you’ll be run through the center of a very large tube filled with electro-magnets that oscillate on and off at tremendous speed, which produces a loud clicking noise.

If this is difficult on your ears, you can ask for ear plugs from the technician. During the entire procedure, you’ll be in intercom contact, which is accessible from where you’re lying inside of the tube.

A Complex Machine

The machine can scan and take images in 3 dimensions along any point on your body. Typically, only a single part of your body is pictured – the part with which you’re having a medical issue. That could be a problem with soft tissue, a tumor or other problem that isn’t going to show up in a typical X-ray. Given the immense complexity of the image taken by the MRI, there is a parallel complexity in the time it takes to get an MRI scan; also in cost. MRI machines cost millions of dollars, and not every practitioner has one. If you can find one that does, or at least has access to one, then you’ll streamline your health care and possibly save money at the same time.

Open MRI

The other kind of MRI machine is the open MRI. Unlike the round, completely enclosing machines, these are able to scan you from above, while you remain fully exposed to the room. There are no walls surrounding you, and you have no need for an intercom to connect you with the technician or even a supporting family member, who can stand at your side.


If you’re getting imaging of a joint, particularly of the shoulder, you may have a slightly different procedure known as an Arthrogram. A special dye is injected into the joint, which will highlight its features and help the MRI pick up any abnormalities that would otherwise be too difficult to see. It can sting, although there is an anesthetic given before the injection. The main feeling is one of swolleness inside of the joint after the procedure, receding after 48 hours.

Get Good Advice

For more answers to questions about MRI, contact your local Orthopedic doctor or your Lithia Springs chiropractor, who often send patients to get MRI scans and can advise you on the best course of action.


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