The pictures above are of MRI machines. Before someone goes into a machine, there are many things they have to do. First thing, the patient has to have the authority of their doctor. Once that is done then the patient has to schedule the appointment and the procedure is explained to the patient over the phone.
The hospital will tell the patient that they can NOT eat for at least three hours before the screening. Reason being that the MRI machine may look big, but the space given for a person is small. Because the space is small people could get scared and may end up vomiting. Some people may struggle with claustrophobia and if a patient is struggling with claustrophobia, they may need to recieve some sedation medication that can not be given with food in the stomach. The day of the exam, the patient will be asked to remove their street clothes and wear hospital garnets. The patient will also be asked to remove any watches, jewelry, or make-up before the exam. They would remind the patient not to schedule anything after the appointment because after the screening people usually feel exhausted and hot.
The first thing that would need to be done for an appointment is to go to the hospital early so the people working at the hospital can get the patient into their system. Then a bracelet will be issued that has the patient's medical information on it. This is after the patient has filled out the MRI Patient History and Screening Sheet. This sheet has questions about the history of the patient, and to see if the patient has eaten in the past three hours. There are some things that may cancel the patient's screening and cause it to be postponed to a later date. If the patient has any metal implants the test would be canceled and another type of test would be scheduled. The reason for this is that while in the machine there are all sorts of energy going through the patient's body. The energy causes heat and that heat would heat up the metal implants and potentially burn internal organs. There have been instances of people being injuried while having an MRI done because people have entered the room with metal objects and the powerful magnets have slammed that metal into the MRI patient. If the patient is wearing make-up, the metal particles in the make-up can heat up and burn the eyes or the skin
Once everything is figured out the next step is to put on a gown and lay down on the table. The body part that is being scanned will have a "cage" put around it and then the tech moves that part of the body to the center of the machine. The tech that is taking the pictures with the machine will tell the patient to try and stay still, while doing this they will let the patient listen to some music. The time that it would take to take the pictures really depends on what part of a patient's body is being screened. A whole body scan would take about eight to ten hours. The MRI machine will also make some loud noises. That is when the machine is taking pictures and that is all the machine does. After the screening is done, the patient will get up and leave the area to redress and leave the facility. The main side effect that a patient will experience is a feeling of "being hot". All energy that has passed through the patient's body can elevate their body temperature.
After being through the machine, the hospital will get the pictures developed. They are sent to the doctor that the patient went to. Once they are in, the next appointment is scheduled to see what is wrong and to see what the patient can do to cure their ailment.
Lee Hughes, Northen Arizona Radiology
A special thanks to Lee Hughes who donated his time and expertise to teach our group about the MRI technology. We particularly enjoyed the hospital visit and experimenting with the machine and the images.