Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive diagnostic imaging system using radio waves, a magnetic field and a computer to produce images of the body. An MRI displays images in “slices” similar to that of a CT scan, but offers greater contrast between different types of body tissues without ionizing radiation. MRI is one of the most advanced imaging techniques, producing precise details of the head, neck, spine, muscles, joints and bones. It is also used to image the chest, abdomen and pelvis.

In some instances, contrast agents such as gadolinium are used to enhance certain anatomical structures and increase the diagnostic accuracy of the images. The image and resolution produced by MRI is quite detailed and can detect tiny changes in structures throughout the head and body.

Types of MRI

RAI offers MRI at our our St. Augustine, Palm Coast, Daytona Beach and Port Orange locations. We offer open-bore MRI, which is designed for younger, larger or claustrophobic patients at our St. Augustine, Palm Coast, Daytona Beach and Port Orange locations.

Musculokeletal MRI

Having an active lifestyle can create a greater chance for injury. When diagnostic screening is needed, MRI can capture details about the joints, spine and soft tissues like muscles, tendons and ligaments, making it especially helpful when assessing sports injuries. MRI can find strains and tears of the tendons, ligaments and muscles, and detect overuse injuries, bone fractures, bleeding within tissues and joints, and other sports-related injuries.

RAI’s advanced MRI scanners and musculoskeletal radiologists and neuroradiologists can accurately locate and diagnose injury so your doctor, physical therapist or other clinician can create a treatment plan.

RAI is a trusted name in Sports Medicine and has been named the “Official Radiology Provider” to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Athletics.

Breast MRI

While mammography detects many breast cancers, its sensitivity is limited, making breast MRI an important supplementary test. Breast MRI uses molecular signals to look for cancers that may be too subtle to identify on mammography or ultrasound. While mammography is still the best screening exam for breast cancer, breast MRI can be used to provide additional information, including: diagnosis of breast implant ruptures, staging of breast cancer and treatment planning, post-surgery and post-radiation follow-up, dense breast tissue evaluation, and monitoring high risk patients, such as those with a personal or family history of breast cancer.

Breast MRI is also helpful in patients recently diagnosed with breast cancer seeking breast conservation therapy or where there is concern for tumor recurrence. The procedure takes approximately 20 minutes and is non-invasive, except for the injection of contrast material.

RAI also offers MRI guidance for core biopsy of lesions discovered via breast MRI. Very few outpatient facilities have this capability. The ability to perform MRI breast biopsies gives us great confidence that virtually all lesions identified can be sampled.

RAI offers the latest in breast MRI technology. Your physician or RAI radiologist can determine if breast MRI might be right for your situation.

Prostate MRI

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in America, affecting 1 in 6 men. It is also the second leading cause of cancer death, confirming that early detection and timely treatment are essential. Traditional methods of prostate cancer detection used by Primary Care Physicians and Urologists include the digital rectal exam (DRE) and the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test.

RAI offers MRI as a complementary imaging exam to aid prostate cancer diagnosis, staging, treatment planning and management. Prostate MRI offers better visualization of the prostate gland and surrounding tissues than any other imaging test and provides functional information about the tissue that can help determine whether areas of prostate tissue are normal or abnormal.

Cardiac MRI

Cardiac MRI imaging allows your referring physician and RAI radiologist to diagnose and monitor cardiac issues, including problems with the heart such as enlargement and restricted blood flow, and disorders of the cardiovascular system, like inflammation, infection, tumors, blockage and scarring. When a disorder is discovered, cardiac MRI can be useful in monitoring its progression as well as staging treatment and evaluating the success of treatments over time.

Small Bowel MRI (MR Enterography)

This examination is similar to the CT Enterography, but it is performed on an MRI scanner. The advantage of MRI is the lack of ionizing radiation and the ability to visualize small bowel motility. The lack of ionizing radiation is particularly important for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease) who will need many imaging studies over their lifetime.

MR Angiography

Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) is a special type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test designed to evaluate arteries, veins and blood flow. MRA enables the capture of detailed images without the need of inserting a catheter, removing the risk of damaging an artery. In some cases a contrast dye (gadolinium) is injected to highlight the blood vessels for easier study of details.

One of the most common reasons an MRA is ordered is to examine the arteries for narrowing, weakening, bulging or plaque buildup that could lead to a serious medical condition like stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, blood clots, kidney failure or bleeding in or around the brain. MRA technology is one of the best ways to detect, diagnose and stage treatment of heart disorders, strokes and blood vessel diseases. Using MRA, exploratory surgery and its associated risks may be avoided.

What to Expect

A contrast material may be injected or swallowed, depending on your exam. Because MRI utilizes magnets, you will be asked to remove all metal objects like jewelry, belts, etc. Most people with permanent metal situated anywhere in the head or body are not eligible for MRI examination. You will be asked to lie still on the table with the area being investigated situated inside the MRI machine while it captures a series of images. Earplugs will be provided to diminish the knocking and thumping sounds created by the scan. The test is painless, but can take from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Some people feel confined in an MRI machine. For people prone to claustrophobia, RAI offers open-bore MRI, which offers a wider environment suitable for such patients. Open-bore MRI may also be indicated for people with larger bodies and children, who typically find open MRI more comfortable.