What is MRI?
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machines use a magnetic field, radio waves and computer technology to generate detailed images of internal organs, body tissue and anatomy. This allows physicians non-invasive access to the injury or to analyze the medical condition to determine the best course of action for your medical treatment. MRI scans allow for earlier detection of medical conditions, resulting in faster treatment and more favourable outcomes.
Are MRI Scans Safe?
MRI scans are very safe with no exposure to harmful radiation. They are safer than X Ray or CT scans because patients aren’t exposed any ionizing radiation. The examination is pain-free and does not require any special preparations.
What are MRIs used for?
MRI scanning is used to diagnose early stages of cancer, brain, neurological, spine and nerve abnormalities, as well as injury to soft tissue, bone, joint and muscle injuries.
What is the MRI scan procedure?
Examinations vary in time, but range from 30 minutes to 1 hour per exam. You will be asked to remove your make-up, eyeglasses, watch, jewellery, credit cards, dentures, hearing aids and any other metallic objects you are carrying. The technologist will position you comfortably on a cushioned table. Once you are settled in place the technologist moves the bed into the space in the centre of the magnet. He or she is in contact with you visually and with an intercom. During the scanning procedure you will hear a thumping sound for several minutes at a time. You need to lie as still as possible throughout the scan. Any movement during the scan could blur the image. When the exam is done, the technologist will help you off the table.
Is an injection required?
In some situations, a substance known as a contrast agent is required to enhance the ability of the MRI to see into your body. Sometimes your Doctor, in discussion with the Radiologist, might deem an injection into a joint or a vein to help provide better images. The fluid injected is call contrast (chemical name Gadolinium). About 15 – 20% of all MRI studies the world over use contrast.
Are there restrictions to an MRI Scan?
Yes, because of the strong magnetic field required to create an MRI scan any internal metallic objects preclude you from having an MRI. These include pacemakers, neuro-stimulators, ferrous intracranial aneurysm chips, implanted drug infusion devices, metal implants, surgical staples, foreign metal objects in the eye, shrapnel, bullet wounds, tattoos or Intrauterine devices (IUDs). If there is any question of a potential metal fragment in your eye, Orbital X-Rays will be ordered and reviewed by the MRI Radiologist to assure MRI Safety and proceed with the exam.
All parts of your body are exposed to an MRI scan so we need to know your medical history to determine if an MRI scan may be detrimental to your health.
What if I suffer from claustrophobia?
Our system offers generous patient access, fresh air flow, ambient lighting and a relaxed, non-clinical type setting. Your referring Doctor may prescribe a mild sedative which has been found to be effective in controlling claustrophobia most of the time. If a sedative is prescribed, we require the patient to arrive with a designated driver.
What should I wear?
Loose comfortable clothing with no metallic objects is generally satisfactory. We can supply you with a cotton pyjama top and/or bottom if necessary.
How do I book an appointment?
Referrals can be made by a General Practitioner, Specialist, Chiropractor or Nurse Practitioner. We will require the name of your Family Doctor, as a copy of the report will be sent following the MRI scan. For a copy of our Requisition Form please click here. Requisition Forms can be dropped off, mailed, faxed or scanned and emailed to your office. Once we receive the Requisition Form we will call you to schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience. If you already have an MRI requisition signed by a physician certified with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia that is different than our Requisition Form that is also acceptable.
Do my medical benefits cover my MRI scan?
The Medical Services Plan of British Columbia does not cover the cost of a private MRI scan. Most extended health plans do not cover these costs either. Please check your plan for details. Some employers, disability insurers (WorkSafe BC, ICBC) and third party payers may cover the costs of the MRI examination for you. Payment is to be made at the time of the examination. A copy of your invoice can be submitted towards your Annual Income Tax.
We also accept major credit and debit cards. Please be mindful of your daily limit if using your debit card.