Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can provide very clear images of the body. Its advantage over CT is that MRI can provide sectional views of the body in different planes.
If the patient has kidney problems or is allergic to the CT contrast, he will likely have a MRI exam sometime during the evaluation. MRI, like CT, is used to better define something seen on Ultrasound. MRI uses magnets and radiowaves to look at the structures inside the body. Like CT, MRI looks at the liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, kidneys and the vessels important to the liver, as well as the bowel and any abnormal fluid collections.
To reduce bowel motion, which can degrade the quality of the MRI, the patient is asked not to eat for six hours before the examination. A small amount of an IV contrast is injected into the patient's arm. Very few people have allergic reactions to the MRI contrast because the amount injected is so small, about one tablespoon.
The machine is a 1.5T short bore MRI scanner. The short bore scanner is the shortest available, making the exam more comfortable for patients with problems with enclosed spaces. A typical MRI exam takes approximately 30 minutes.