Magnetic Resonance Imaging is one of the most advanced imaging techniques available. MRI uses radiofrequency waves and a strong magnetic field, rather than X-rays, to provide clear, detailed pictures of internal organs and tissues. This safe, non-invasive technique is valuable for diagnosing a broad range of diseases - including cancer, heart and vascular disease, stroke, and joint and musculoskeletal disorders - in all areas of the body. At Chester County Hospital, our MRI services offer the specialized equipment and high level of expertise needed to accurately evaluate structures within the body that may not be as visible with other imaging methods.
How does an MRI Work?
MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves, and a computer to produce two-dimensional or three-dimensional images of body structures. During a MRI, the magnetic field causes protons in the molecules of the body to align. The electromagnetic pulse of the scanner then knocks many of the protons out of that alignment producing a resonance signal. A sensitive radio antenna listens to the resonance signal each proton gives off as it goes back into alignment to the magnet. Since MRI does not use X-rays, no radiation exposure is involved.
Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA)
Magnetic Resonance Angiography is a special type of MRI designed to evaluate arteries, veins, and the blood flowing within them. It uses the same technology as an MRI with a different angiographic technique to visualize blood vessels in any body part.
Before the Exam
Although an MRI is noninvasive and the risk of complications is rare, our staff will make sure that you understand the various risks that may be associated with the procedure prior to your MRI.
You will change into appropriate clothing for whatever body part needs to be scanned. If you are wearing any metallic items that might interfere with the scan, you will be asked to remove them. This would include items such as jewelry, dentures or objects in your pockets.
During the Exam
You will lie down on your back or stomach on a table that slides into a tube within the MRI scanner. A coil or antenna will be placed near or around the area of the body to be studied. These special imaging devices send and receive the radio waves and help improve image quality. The body part to be scanned will be positioned within the center of the magnet.
The Latest Technology
At Chester County Hospital, we use the latest MRI technology to provide the highest quality images and diagnose a wide spectrum of conditions throughout the body, including the brain, carotids, chest, abdomen, pelvis, breast, lower extremities, and endorectal areas. We use equipment with a more open design to improve the experience for our larger and/or claustrophobic patients.
Try it On for Size
We understand that the idea of having an MRI may bring feelings of worry or anxiety. You can "Try it On for Size" at Chester County Hospital's Fern Hill Medical Campus, Penn Medicine Exton and Penn Medicine Southern Chester County radiology locations. Our 1.5T MRI was selected with your comfort in mind. Its design meets the needs of larger and/or claustrophobic patients while maintaining high quality imaging for accurate diagnosis.
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