Medical Imaging Menu

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a technique that uses a magnetic field and radio waves (not radiation) to create detailed images of the organs and tissues within your body. Most MRI machines are large, tube-shaped magnets, resembling a tunnel (or a donut) that has both ends open. When you lie inside an MRI machine, the magnetic field temporarily aligns all the water molecules in your body. Radio waves cause these aligned particles to produce very faint signals that are used to create cross-sectional MRI images, like slices in a loaf of bread.

The MRI machine creates a strong magnetic field around you, and radio waves are directed at your body. Due to the magnetic field, it is very important that you remove any metal objects before going into the MRI room. The procedure is painless and typically lasts an hour. You must hold very still because movement can blur the resulting images. In some cases, contrast agents are injected into your veins to enhance the appearance of certain tissues or blood vessels in the images.

At Women's College Hospital our MRI scanner is wider and shorter than most, the larger bore provides greater comfort to patients who are claustrophobic ordistressed in tighter spaces.

Women’s College Hospital specializes in breast MRI, although images of all other body parts are also performed, including chest, musculoskeletal, neuro (brain) and abdomen.

Having an MRI? Click on one of the following options for more information on what to expect.

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