Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MR imaging is provided at all Swedish facilities. Our systems are designed to be less claustrophobic for patients. All our scanners are accredited by the American College of Radiology.
MRI uses radio frequency waves and a strong magnetic field rather than x-rays to provide remarkably clear and detailed pictures of internal organs and tissues. MRI is a valuable tool for the diagnosis of a broad range of conditions.
Swedish offers the following MRI exams at our facilities:
- Brain MRI
- Spine MRI
- Cardiac MRI (Cherry Hill location only)
- Abdominal MRI (except at Ballard)
- MR Enterography - specialized view of small bowels (for this procedure you will be asked to arrive 2 hours prior to your appointment time and given oral contrast to drink.)
- MR Cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) - specialized view of the biliary tree
- Pelvis MRI
- Upper Extremity (Musculoskeletal) MRI (i.e. hand, wrist, forearm, elbow, humerus or shoulder)
- Lower Extremity (Musculoskeletal) MRI (i.e. foot, ankle, tibia/fibula, knee, femur or hip)
- MR Arthrogram (Musculoskeletal): including wrist, elbow, shoulder, hip, knee or ankle
- MR Angiography - MRA can be done on almost any part of the body and is specifically used to image blood vessels and blood flow
- Stealth MRI (Cherry Hill, Edmonds, First Hill or Issaquah locations)
- Fetal MRI (Cherry Hill, First Hill and Issaquah locations)
- Functional MRI (Cherry Hill location only)
- Revo (MR compatible) Pacemaker MRI (Cherry Hill and Issaquah locations)
- Pediatric MRI Any pediatric MRI exam that requires sedation should be scheduled at Cherry Hill or First Hill
Some MRI exams require an injection of intravenous MRI contrast. Allergic reaction from gadolinium dye is extremely rare (less than 1%). Your doctor will review a list of possible complications. These may include: rash, hives, or shortness of breath. Notify the technologist immediately if you experience any discomfort.
What to expect prior to exam
- There is usually very little preparation for an MRI exam. Take your daily medications as you normally would, unless instructed otherwise. For those exams with dietary restrictions, you will be notified of the requirements when scheduling.
You will be asked to arrive 15-30 minutes prior to your exam time. You will be notified of your arrival time when scheduling.
You should wear comfortable clothing that do not have metal fasteners or metallic designs. Otherwise, you will be asked to change into a hospital gown. You should not wear jewelry, hair clips or other metal objects. A locker will be supplied to secure your belongings.
If you have any type of electronic implant, please bring the device card or other documents with the device information with you, as these devices must be documented to be sure they are safe before you can go into the MRI room.
What to expect the day of your exam
- You will be registered and asked to fill out the MRI screening form. You can print this and fill it out ahead of time to bring with you.
A health care professional will explain the test and answer any questions you may have.
You will be required to lie still during the actual scanning, as MRI is extremely sensitive to motion and any movement will cause the images to be blurry, resulting in repeated scanning and longer time in the magnet. Depending on the body part that is being examined, you may be instructed to hold your breath for up to 30 seconds at a time.
The magnet is permanently open on both ends. It is well lit and there is a fan for patient comfort. The part of the body being scanned will be placed in the middle of the magnet. There is a two-way intercom system for communication between patient and technologist.
During the actual imaging, you will hear a loud intermittent banging noise. You will be provided with earplugs or headphones to minimize the noise during the procedure.
If you are claustrophobic, your doctor may prescribe an oral medication for you to take for your MRI appointment. If this is the case, be sure you have a driver with you.
The technologist will also provide you with an alarm button to alert the technologist of any discomfort you may experience at any point during the MRI exam.
What to expect after your exam
- If a contrast injection is performed, the IV is removed from the arm before you go home.
If you received sedation, someone must drive you home.
How long will it take?
The exam is 45 minutes to one hour per body part. If you are given contrast it will add an additional 15-20 minutes. Total time you will be at the health care facility is one to two hours.
A board certified radiologist will interpret your images and create a report for your doctor. Swedish utilized PACS and EPIC. All images are digitally archived to your electronic medical record. Same day test results are available due to innovative voice recognition technology. Reports are sent by internet, fax or electronic record to your doctor. Please call your doctor for results.
Swedish MRI locations and outpatient appointment times