Frequently Asked Questions About MRI
"Without FirstScan, I would have had to endure a painful blind biopsy to find out my high PSA was not due to cancer."
Tom J. – FirstScan Client
"FirstScan found my cancer in its earliest stages and saved my life. I’m thankful this service was available to me."
Bob J. – Prostate Cancer Survivor
"I was scheduled for a prostate biopsy. I was looking for a better way to find out if I had a problem. I did a little research on the Internet and found FirstScan. After reading the information I decided it was a good way to prescreen prior to the biopsy. I had my appointment about two weeks prior to the biopsy. The radiologist with FirstScan found there were no problems worth further investigation. I was glad to rely on his findings and not go forward with my biopsy. I really do believe FirstScan does a better job of looking at the prostate than just a preventative type biopsy. Thank you for being there FirstScan."
Larry M. – FirstScan Patient
"Because of FirstScan, my husband was able to maintain normal prostate function after his cancer treatment."
Sara P. – Wife of FirstScan Client
Will the MRI hurt?
No. The MRI scan itself does not cause any pain. In some patients the area being scanned may become warm. If this warmth is unpleasant or irritating, you can notify the MRI technologist immediately.
Patients are required to remain still during the scan. This may cause discomfort depending on your injury or illness. At FirstScan™, we use the latest technologies designed specifically for patient comfort and scanning speed. If you are experiencing any discomfort or pain in the scan, let the technologist know and we will make the necessary accommodations.
Is MRI safe?
MRI is completely safe for patients screened by our staff. Since MRI uses powerful magnets, the presence of metal in your body may be a safety hazard or impact the quality of the scan. Let your technologist know if you have any metal in your body such as:
Metal implants or joints
Steel surgical clips or staples
An implanted drug infusion device
Any implant made wholly or iron or steel
A neuro-stimulator (Tens-unit)
Bullets, shrapnel, or any other metal fragments
Prior to your scan, you will fill out a questionnaire, so we can assess whether you have any of these potential risks.
How should I prepare for my scan?
Before an MRI exam, we ask that you forgo your breakfast or lunch preceding your MRI and take your usual medications unless otherwise instructed by your doctor. At FirstScan™, we allow you to wear your own clothing without metal zippers, but we will ask you to remove things that might affect the magnetic imaging such as:
Jewelry, watches and hair accessories
Eyeglasses, dentures, and hearing aids
Underwire bras or support garments
Clothing with metallic elements such as zippers and metal buttons
Keys, coins, wallet, or cellphones
What do I have to do during the scan?
During the MRI scan, you will simply be asked to lie as still as possible. Holding still is important to help quickly acquire good diagnostic quality images.
How long will the MRI scan take?
The length of an MRI scan depends entirely on the anatomy. Some scans can take a few minutes, while others can take over 30 minutes. At FirstScan™, we use the latest technology to ensure that our technologist can acquire the necessary images as quickly as possible. However, if you are worried about the scan taking a long time, you can definitely help the scan go faster by lying as still as possible.
Will I need to get an injection?
Not everyone needs an injection before an MRI. Injections are only required when the radiologist and referring physician have determine they are necessary for diagnostic purposes.
If an injection is needed, a pharmaceutical contrast agent called Gadolinium is administered. Contrast agent is safe for all but the rarest of cases, and the only pain can be at the injection site.
What if I’m claustrophobic?
A common concern among patients receiving an MRI is claustrophobia. At FirstScan™, we have two MRI machines, one of which has what is called a "wide bore" designed to reduce feelings of claustrophobia. Furthermore, only the anatomy being scanned will be going fully into the MRI machine, so in some cases your head or upper body will not go into the bore. We also use the latest protocols to acquire images quickly. You may also request your physician to write you a prescription for "valium" or other mild sedatives to reduce claustrophobic response.
Can I bring someone to the scan?
You are welcome to have someone accompany you to our facility. However, we cannot allow others into the MRI scanning room with you.
Can I listen to music during the scan?
Yes, at FirstScan™ we have a system to let patients listen to their favorite music or podcast during the scan.
"The non-invasive and painless forty minute MRI procedure at First Scan revealed a highly suspicious malignancy in the anterior region of my prostate where the UCLA study reports that repeat blind (TRUS) biopsies miss potentially aggressive and dangerous cancers.
My urologist would not have found this cancer using the old standard method although the cancer would have remained in the prostate and continued to grow."
Coach – theMEDICAREcoach.com
What is MRI?
MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. MRI is a technology that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to generate images of the body.
How does an MRI work?
The human body is made of mostly water molecules which contain hydrogen protons. These protons become aligned when exposed to a magnetic field. The signal from the MRI scanner pulsates which moves the hydrogen protons is and out of alignment. This movement creates a signal that is detected by a receiver antennae (the MRI coil you wear on your body) and transmitted to computer image processing software to generate pictures of your internal anatomy.
Why does the MRI machine make that knocking sound?
The knocking sound made by an MRI machine is the sound of the magnet field pulsating through the coil of the scanner. The sound is unpleasant to some people, but it is not harmful when using comfortable earplugs issued before the scan. At FirstScan™, we offer patients the ability to listen to music if they are not comfortable with the knocking sound.
What can an MRI scan image?
Hydrogen protons move differently in different body tissue. This difference helps the technologist and the radiologists see the different anatomies and any abnormal pathologies.
Do you have accessible parking?
Yes, we have handicapped accessible parking only yards from the front entrance.
Can I book an appointment myself?
You can book an appointment yourself, but you need a prescription from a referring physician to receive a scan. If you do not have a referring physician but think our services are right for you, we can connect you with one of the highly trained physicians in our network.
When will I get the results of my exam?
We send the results of your exam to your referring physician within 48 hours or sooner in most cases. They will contact you with their follow-up recommendations.
Why should I choose FirstScan™?
FirstScan™ uses the latest technology and highly trained radiology specialists to ensure the highest level of accuracy for diagnostics. We are the only standalone clinic in the area with a 3 Tesla MRI scanner and a full suite of non-invasive antenna. FirstScan™ also offers a patient-first experience to ensure that you feel comfortable and safe through the entire process.