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Procedure: Having an MRI Scan

MRI scanning can be used to image any part of the body but is most commonly used to investigate the brain and spinal cord, the heart and blood vessels, organs such as the liver, and bones and joints. You are positioned on a motorized bed and a receiving magnet is placed around the part of your body to be examined. You are then moved into the tunnel of the scanner. Several individual scans will be taken during the procedure. You will have to lie within the scanner for up to about 90 minutes and therefore it is important you are as comfortable as possible. You may be given earplugs or headphones because the scanner can be noisy. Your doctor may give you a sedative if you are anxious or claustrophobic.

During the procedure

You will be asked to keep very still while an individual scan is being taken. Although complete procedures may take 15–90 minutes, each scan takes only 3–5 minutes. This knee scan would take about 30 minutes.

Operating the MRI scanner

The scanner is operated from an adjacent room because the computer controlling the scanner has to be protected from the powerful magnetic field created during the procedure. The radiographer may give you instructions through an intercom about when you need to keep still.

Results

MRI scan of a knee

An MRI scan of the knee joint gives a clear picture of its internal structure, revealing all the tissues, including bone, fat, and cartilage.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

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