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Bayhealth Offers Unique Open MRI System

Patients at Bayhealth have access to the advanced 1.2 Tesla Open MRI system - the only one of its kind in Delaware. Patients are more comfortable in this open system and are able to receive high quality imaging without the feeling of confinement or restricted space. 

MRI Specialty Expertise and ACR Accreditation

Bayhealth has the only Neuroradiology MRI fellowship trained radiologists in Central and Southern Delaware. Expertise and advanced technology improve diagnostic capabilities so patients can move to treatment more efficiently.

Bayhealth is also accredited by the American College of Radiology, a national accrediting organization that mandates diagnostic quality and safety standards, for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Accreditation at Bayhealth for MRI is a result of excellence in qualifications, quality control, safety policies, and MRI image quality.   

What is an MRI?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of a large magnet, radio frequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.

Before an MRI Procedure

If your procedure involves the use of contrast dye, you will be asked to sign a consent form that gives permission to do the procedure. Please read the form carefully and ask questions if something is not clear.

Generally, there is no special restriction on diet or activity prior to an MRI procedure, but based upon your medical condition, your physician may require other specific preparation.

Before the MRI, it is extremely important that you inform the technologist if you have any of the following:

  • Pacemaker or have had heart valves replaced
  • Any type of implanted pump, such as an insulin pump
  • Metal plates, pins, metal implants, surgical staples, or aneurysm clips
  • Metallic fragments anywhere in the body
  • You have permanent eyeliner or tattoos
  • You are pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant
  • You ever had a bullet wound
  • You have ever worked with metal (e.g., a metal grinder or welder)
  • You have any body piercing
  • You have an intrauterine device (IUD)
  • You are wearing a medication patch

What to Expect During a MRI Procedure

MRI may be performed on an outpatient basis or as part of your stay in a hospital. Procedures may vary depending on your condition and your physician's practices. Generally, MRI of the bones, joints, or soft tissue follows this process:

  1. You will be given a gown and asked to remove any clothing, jewelry, or other objects that may interfere with the procedure.
  2. If you are scheduled to have a procedure done with contrast, either an oral medication will be given to swallow, or an intravenous (IV) line will be started in the hand or arm for injection of the contrast dye. You may feel some effects when the dye is injected into the IV line, including a flushing sensation, a salty or metallic taste in the mouth, a brief headache, or nausea. These effects usually last for just a few moments.
  3. You will lie on a scan table that slides into a large, circular opening of the scanning machine. A surface coil may be placed over the area to be examined if it is a relatively small area, such as a joint.
  4. The technologist will be in another room where the scanner controls are located. However, you will be in constant sight of the technologist through a window and speakers inside the scanner will enable the technologist to communicate with and hear you. You will have a call button so that you can let the technologist know if you have any problems during the procedure.
  5. During the scanning process, a clicking noise will sound as the magnetic field is created and pulses of radio waves are sent from the scanner. You will be given earplugs or a headset to wear to help block out the noise from the scanner. Some headsets may provide music for you to listen to.
  6. On occasion, some patients with metal fillings in their teeth may experience some slight tingling of the teeth during the procedure.
  7. It will be important for you to remain very still during the examination, as any movement could cause distortion and affect the quality of the scan.
  8. At intervals, you may be instructed to hold your breath, or to not breathe, for a few seconds, depending on the body part being examined. You will then be told when you can breathe. You should not have to hold your breath for longer than a few seconds.
  9. Once the scan has been completed, the table will slide out of the scanner and you will be assisted off the table. If an IV line was inserted for contrast administration, the line will be removed.

While the MRI procedure itself causes no pain, having to lie still for the length of the procedure might cause some discomfort or pain, particularly in the case of a recent injury or invasive procedure such as surgery. The technologist will use all possible comfort measures and complete the procedure as quickly as possible to minimize any discomfort or pain.

After a MRI Procedure

You should move slowly when getting up from the scanner table to avoid any dizziness or lightheadedness from lying flat for the length of the procedure. If any sedatives were taken for the procedure, you may be required to rest until the sedatives have worn off. You will also need to avoid driving.

If contrast dye is used during your procedure, you may be monitored for a period of time for any side effects or reactions to the contrast dye, such as itching, swelling, rash, or difficulty breathing. If you notice any pain, redness, and/or swelling at the IV site after you return home following your procedure, you should notify your physician as this could indicate an infection or other type of reaction.

Otherwise, there is no special type of care required after a MRI scan of the bones, joints, and soft tissues. You may resume your usual diet and activities, unless your physician advises you differently. Your physician may give you additional or alternate instructions after the procedure, depending on your particular situation.