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If you need an MRI in Ft. Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Plantation, or Coconut Creek, Florida, the fellowship-trained, board-certified radiologists at Diagnostic Professionals, Inc. (DPI) specialize in MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging. An MRI scan is a painless radiology technique that has the advantage of avoiding X-ray radiation exposure.

The benefits of an MRI scan relate to its precise accuracy in detecting structural abnormalities of the body, and there are no known side effects. We also offer open MRI in Broward County, Florida for large or claustrophobic patients.

What is an MRI?

An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan is a way of getting pictures of various parts of your body without the use of X-rays, unlike regular X-ray pictures and CAT scans. An MRI scan can be used as an extremely accurate method of detecting disease and injuries throughout the body.

MRI uses magnetism, radio waves, and a computer to produce images of body structures. The MRI scanner is a tube surrounded by a giant circular magnet. The patient is placed on a moveable bed that is inserted into the magnet. The magnet creates a strong magnetic field that aligns the protons of hydrogen atoms, which are then exposed to a beam of radio waves. This spins the various protons of the body, and they produce a faint signal that is detected by the receiver portion of the MRI scanner. The receiver information is processed by a computer, and an image is then produced.

The image and resolution produced by MRI is quite detailed and can detect tiny changes of structures within the body. For some procedures, contrast agents are used to increase the accuracy of the images.

What is an MRA?

DPI also offers a type of MRI scan called MRA or magnetic resonance angiogram, which uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to provide pictures of blood vessels inside the body. In many cases, MRA can provide information that cannot be obtained from an X-ray, ultrasound, or computed tomography (CT) scan.

MRA can detect problems with the blood vessels that may be causing reduced blood flow. With MRA, both the blood flow and the condition of the blood vessel walls can be seen. The test is often used to evaluate the blood vessels leading to the brain, kidneys, and legs. Information from an MRA can be saved and stored on a computer for further study. Photographs of selected views can also be made.

How safe is an MRI?

MRI is quite safe in the majority of patients. Certain patients may not be able to have an MRI. These include people who get nervous in small spaces (claustrophobic) and those with implanted medical devices such as aneurysm clips in the brain, heart pacemakers, and cochlear (inner ear) implants. Also, people with pieces of metal close to or in an important organ (such as the eye) may not be scanned. There are a few additional safety considerations and some exceptions based on individual circumstances.

Also, certain metal objects that are commonly worn or carried like watches, credit cards, hair pins, writing pens, etc. may be damaged by the MRI scanner or may be pulled away from your body if you go into an MRI room. Metal can sometimes also cause poor pictures if it is close to the part being scanned. For these reasons, patients are asked to remove these objects before entering the MRI scanner.

What will I experience during an MRI?

You will most likely be lying on a special table that moves into the center of the magnet. Prior to going into the magnet you will be offered earplugs to reduce the noise that you hear. You will then hear some "hammering" noises while the scanner is preparing for scanning and taking the pictures. During this hammering noise, it is important not to move, as this would blur the pictures.

You may also feel some vibration during the hammering noise and some slight movement of the table during the examination. Some patients will be given an injection in their arm of a substance that improves certain types of pictures. This substance, called a contrast agent, is very safe and is unrelated to the iodine used for CAT scans and kidney X-rays.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of an MRI?

MRI scanners are good at looking at the non-bony parts or soft tissues of the body. In particular, the brain, spinal cord, and nerves are seen much more clearly with MRI than with regular X-rays and CAT scans. Also, muscles, ligaments, and tendons are seen quite well, so MRI scans are commonly used to look at knees and shoulders following injuries. A MRI scanner does not use X-rays or any other radiation.

A disadvantage of MRI is its higher cost compared to a regular X-ray or CAT scan. Also, CAT scans are frequently better at looking at the bones than MRI.

Visit DPI for High Definition MRI in Broward County

To schedule an MRI appointment in Broward County, Florida, please contact Diagnostic Professionals, Inc. (DPI) at (954) 566-4551, or call one of our four convenient South Florida locations. You can also request an appointment online.