Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has become an integral part of modern medicine, allowing doctors to make accurate diagnoses for a wide range of conditions. However, despite the importance and common use of this technology, MRIs are often misunderstood and thought to be scary or dangerous. In reality, these tests are safe and effective, and they can help identify problems in your body quickly, accurately, and without any long-term risks.
At Smart Scan Medical Imaging, we believe it's essential to separate fact from fiction. Here, we've debunked some of the most common myths surrounding MRI scans. By dispelling misinformation, we hope to empower you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions about your healthcare. So, let's take a look at the facts and demystify the world of MRI technology
Myth 1: MRI Scans Expose You to Harmful Radiation
An MRI exam produces detailed images of nearly every internal structure (bones, organs, joints, blood vessels, brain and spinal cord, etc.) in a patient's body using only radio waves, a magnetic field, and a computer. The entire process is completely non-invasive, and moreover, doesn't involve any exposure to radiation.
This sets MRIs apart from other imaging techniques such as X-rays, PET scans, and CT scans, which rely on ionizing radiation to produce images. Ionizing radiation has the potential to cause harm in large doses or with prolonged exposure, as it can lead to DNA damage and increase the risk of developing cancer. This makes MRI a safer alternative for many diagnostic purposes, particularly when examining sensitive or vulnerable areas of the body, or when imaging procedures need to be repeated over time.
Myth 2: MRI Exams Damage All Metal Implants
An MRI machine produces a very strong magnetic field, so it's understandable that some people may be concerned about the potential for interaction between the MRI machine's magnet and metal objects like implants or other medical devices. Fortunately, titanium implants and many medical devices, like cochlear implants, are not affected by the MRI's magnetic field.
However, if you have a metal implant or other medical device, it's important to inform your technician prior to the exam. Metal objects such as pacemakers can be affected by the MRI's magnetic field, so your technician may need to take additional precautions to ensure your safety during the exam.
Myth 3: The Contrast Dye Used in MRI Scans is Dangerous
Most MRIs are performed without the use of any contrast agent, but in some cases, a gadolinium-based dye is used to make certain details easier to identify. This contrast agent allows MRI machines to create detailed images that help physicians differentiate between healthy and cancerous tissues.
The gadolinium-based contrast dye is non-toxic and is easily flushed by the body after the exam. The idea that this dye is dangerous likely comes from the fact that CT scans use a similar contrast agent that contains iodine, which can cause an allergic reaction or side effects in some people more often than MRI contrast. Luckily, allergic reactions to the contrast agent used in MRI scanning are exceedingly rare, with fewer than 1% of all patients having an adverse reaction.
Myth 4: I Can't Get an MRI Scan Because I'm Claustrophic
Standard MRI scanners are known for their cramped quarters, which can feel especially uncomfortable for those who suffer from claustrophobia. The feeling of being enclosed in such a tight space may cause anxiety and fear, making it challenging for patients to undergo the necessary scans to diagnose or monitor their medical conditions. Recognizing this concern, the Smart Scan team has taken measures to ensure that patients feel as comfortable as possible during their MRI examinations.
For example, we utilize state-of-the-art wide-bore MRI scanners. These specialized scanners are designed with a larger diameter than conventional scanners, and provide more space from your face to the machine than even “open” MRI machines. Plus, these scanners are equipped with the most advanced technology to produce high-quality images in a shorter amount of time. This means that patients spend less time inside the MRI scanner, further reducing discomfort and stress levels.
Myth 5: MRI Scans Are Extremely Expensive
Unfortunately, MRIs are known to be prohibitively expensive. In the Eau Claire and Wausau areas, MRIs can cost a patient up to $6,400. At Smart Scan, we're dedicated to making MRI scans for all patients. That's why most of our scans cost only $650!
We understand that healthcare costs can be a significant concern for many individuals, and we believe that everyone should have access to top-notch care without breaking the bank. Our commitment to this principle has led us to adopt a unique approach to pricing that sets us apart in the industry.
By offering a transparent flat rate for our MRI services, Smart Scan ensures that both patients and insurance companies are aware of the costs upfront, eliminating any surprises or hidden fees. This approach to pricing promotes fairness and simplicity, allowing patients to focus on their health rather than worrying about unexpected expenses.
How Smart Scan Keeps Patients Safe
At Smart Scan Medical Imaging, we prioritize patient safety and comfort at every step of the MRI process. From the moment a patient walks through our doors, our trained and experienced staff is there to ensure a positive, seamless experience. Our advanced technology and comfortable environment provide patients with the peace of mind they need to trust our team with their health and safety.
The safety and benefits of MRI scans are undeniable, and at Smart Scan, we go above and beyond to ensure a safe and comfortable experience for our patients. If you have any questions or concerns, or if you need to schedule an MRI scan, we invite you to visit our practice for further information. Our dedicated team is here to assist you every step of the way, providing exceptional care and support throughout your MRI journey.