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Magnetic Resonance Imaging
(MRI) Scan

Preparation
Scheduling and Directions

Having a magnetic resonance imaging scan, or MRI scan, in Atlanta at DeKalb Medical is an effective way for your doctor to get information that helps him or her make a more accurate diagnosis of your condition. Unlike X-rays and computed tomographic or CT scans, which use radiation, an MRI scan uses powerful magnets and radio waves. IV sedation is available for claustrophobic patients if ordered by referring physicians.

Because a very strong magnet is used in an MRI scan, if you have a pacemaker and other implanted device you may not be able to have this particular exam.

An MRI scan produces dozens and sometimes hundreds of images that can be viewed from many different angles. Single MRI images are called slices. They can be stored on a computer or printed out using film. A radiologist who is specially trained in reviewing your images will promptly provide a report your physician about the findings of your MRI scan in Atlanta at DeKalb Medical. Your physician will share the results with you.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Georgia

DeKalb Medical is among those hospitals that offer both traditional and open magnetic resonance imaging in Georgia. The open MRI scan in Atlanta at DeKalb Medical often is better for those people who are claustrophobic or have a fear of being closed in because the machine is not as close to your body as it is in a traditional MRI. Some patients benefit from taking a mild sedative prior to their MRI scan to help them relax for the test. Talk with your physician if you have any anxiety about your MRI scan in Atlanta.

Preparing for Your MRI Scan

An MRI scan is a painless procedure that requires little or no preparation. You can follow your normal daily diet and routine before having your test. Depending on the area being scanned, you may be asked not to eat or drink anything for 4 to 6 hours before the scan.

Wear your normal clothes. You will be given a hospital gown to change into for your scan, and you will need to remove any jewelry or other accessories such as hair pins or clips. Metal and electronic objects are not allowed in the exam room because they interfere with the magnetic field of the MRI equipment.

If you have a fear confined spaces (claustrophobia) or have difficulty lying still, tell your doctor before the scan. He may be able to prescribe a mild sedative to help you relax during the procedure. Remember, if you do have a sedative you will need someone to drive you home after your MRI scan. You also may be able to request an MRI scan using the open scanner in which the machine is not as close to your body.

DeKalb Medical’s team is very experienced in recognizing and responding to signs of anxiety and claustrophobia related to having an MRI scan. Special accommodations to support patients include education, a walk-through prior to your appointment, headphones for music and in some cases allowing a family member to accompany you during the scan.

Your MRI Scan

The radiological technologist will help you get onto the MRI scanning table and get as comfortable as possible while remaining still during the scan. The table slides into the MRI machine during the scan.

The machine makes various loud whirling, thumping and bumping noises. These are quite normal. You will be given earplugs to use during your breast MRI to help cut down on the noise. The person conducting the exam is in another room but he or she can communicate with you using an intercom system

Some MRI scans require the use of a contrast material or special dye to help the radiologist see certain parts of the area being scanned more clearly. When this is necessary, the technician will place an IV needle in your hand or arm and give you the contrast material using the IV. This is similar to what you may feel when getting your blood drawn. Additional series of images will be taken following the injection.

An MRI scan usually lasts about 45 minutes.

After Your MRI

When your procedure is complete, you may be asked to wait while the technologist checks the images to be sure they are accurate. You may resume your normal daily activities when your test is completed.

A radiologist who is specially trained in reviewing your images will promptly analyze your images and provide a report to your physician about the findings of your MRI scan. Your physician will share the results with you.

Scheduling and Directions

Your physician may contact DeKalb Medical to schedule your MRI scan for you or you may be asked to schedule your own procedure. If you need to schedule your MRI scan, call 404.501.2660.

If your MRI scan will be performed at the Imaging Center at DeKalb Medical at North Decatur,

  • From North Decatur Road, enter the hospital campus via Wash Lively Road.
  • The Diagnostic Imaging Center is on the left.
  • Parking is on the left in front of the center and is free for all Imaging Center patients.

If your MRI scan is at DeKalb Medical at North Decatur, go to the hospital’s central registration area.

  • From North Decatur Road, enter the hospital campus via Wash Lively Road.
  • At road end, turn right. (Note: If you are in a wheelchair or need to be dropped off at the entrance, turn left and proceed to the Central Registration patient drop-off which is on the right just past the main hospital entrance. Your driver should then turn around and continue to the Visitor/Patient parking deck.)
  • At stop sign, turn left and park in the Visitor/Patient parking deck.
  • Take any elevator or stairs to the 3rd level.
  • Proceed to the Pedestrian Bridge to the hospital.
  • Take bridge straight ahead to the escalators.
  • Take escalators down one level.
  • Once off escalators, turn right and immediately left and follow the directions to the hospital main lobby.
  • Proceed past the hospital Gift Shop on your right.
  • Once in the main lobby, follow the hallway to Central Registration.
  • At the end of hallway, turn left.
  • Central Registration is on the right.

If your MRI scan is being performed at DeKalb Medical at Hillandale, go to the hospital’s registration area.

  • Park in the hospital parking lot.
  • Proceed to the main entrance of the hospital.
2701 North Decatur Road Decatur, GA 30033
404.501.1000
Patient Inquiries: 404.501.5200

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