Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

MRI scans are one of the safest of all imaging examinations. It does not require the use of ionizing radiation, and contrast media used during the MRI exam has very low incidence of side effects. It is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses, and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone, and virtually all other internal body structures. MRI has become a popular imaging modality for many different injuries and medical conditions. Magnetic Resonance Imaging has revolutionized the way medical specialists look inside your body to make the most accurate medical diagnosis.

A key to MRI diagnostic accuracy lies in the strength of the system’s magnetic field. The Philips Achieva 3 Tesla (3T) MRI at Huntington-Hill Imaging Center, Fair Oaks is up to 10 times more powerful than MRI scanners found in hospitals and other imaging facilities. Our West Covina location also upgraded their unit to a 3T MRI in 2020, providing a faster exam with great imaging quality. It is the most powerful MRI imaging tool available that produces high definition images in superior detail. Detailed MRI images allow physicians to better evaluate various parts of the body to determine the presence of certain diseases that may not be assessed adequately with other imaging methods such as x-ray, ultrasound, or computed tomography (CT). The 3T MRI system can make a positive difference in a difficult diagnosis. We understand that you and your doctor have a choice when selecting an imaging provider. That is why our facility is equipped with state-of-the-art imaging systems operated by highly skilled specialists.

Additionally, our Fair Oaks location has a Siemens Espree 1.5 Tesla (1.5T) MRI machine with a wide opening which allows for a patient-friendly experience for those who are claustrophobic. This high field magnet is used to perform almost all MRI studies, including MRI-Guided Breast Biopsies. We are one of the few centers in the Southern California area who offers MRI-Guided Breast Biopsies which are performed by one of our dedicated breast specialists.

MRI machines use magnets which are ALWAYS on. It is essential that you remove ALL metal items such as jewelry and piercings before entering the MRI suite. It is equally important to inform staff both when you schedule an exam AND at your appointment check-in of any medical devices, implants, or metallic objects embedded in or on your body. You will be asked to change into a gown prior to your examination.

Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) is a specific type of MRI scan that is optimized to show blood vessels and blood flow. Physicians use this test to rule out blood vessel disorders and plan treatment.

While the majority of MRI exams historically have been studies of the head and neck, the technology is now used to assess disease and injury in the spine and back, the pelvis and abdomen, and the extremities such as knees, shoulders, ankles and wrists. MRI is even used in the evaluation of diseases of the breast including breast cancer.

High field MRI can diagnose neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis, meningitis, Alzheimer’s, malignant and benign tumors in the brain and other parts of the body, as well as injuries and diseases affecting the spine and other anatomical areas.

Neurological MRI

Neurological MRI exams provide excellent diagnostic quality images of the brain and spine. It is a valuable tool for identifying and diagnosing common neurological problems such as tumors, hearing loss, strokes, aneurysms and spinal trauma.

Unlike CT and x-ray, a Neurological MRI is the best choice for examining the brain and spine because it more clearly differentiates between similar tissues.

An MRI scan of the brain is one of the most sensitive tests available for diagnosing strokes, multiple sclerosis, masses and congenital abnormalities. It is an excellent way to see how the brain is functioning and allows physicians to determine if surgery is needed and what risks are associated with it.

Musculoskeletal MRI

While a Musculoskeletal MRI is primarily used to image the spine, knee and shoulder, it also can be used to study almost every joint in the body, including the hips, wrists, and hands.

Because an MRI produces such clear pictures of soft tissue structures near and around bones, it is one of the best choices for examination of the body’s major joints, the spine for disc disease and soft tissues of the extremities. MRI is widely used to diagnose sports-related injuries, as well as work-related disorders caused by repeated strain, vibration or forceful impact.

Using MRI images, physicians can locate and identify the cause of pain, swelling or bleeding in the tissues in and around the joints and bones. The images allow the physician to clearly see tiny tears and injuries to tendons, ligaments and muscles and even some fractures that cannot be seen on x-rays. In addition, MRI images can give physicians a clear picture of degenerative disorders, such as arthritis, deterioration of joint surfaces or a herniated disk.

Finally, a Musculoskeletal MRI is also useful for the diagnosis and characterization of infections (osteomyelitis, for example) and tumors (metastases, for example) involving bones and joints.

Instead of relying on x-rays like CT scans and conventional x-ray exams, high field MRI uses radio waves, a computer and a powerful magnet approximately 7,000-times stronger than the magnetic force of the earth. High field MRI produces better images of soft tissue than CT scans or x-ray exams.

No special preparation is required prior to a high field MRI exam. You may eat normally and go about your daily routine unless you have scheduled your high field MRI appointment with sedation. If so, then don’t have any food or drinks 4 hours prior to your scheduled appointment. In addition, you must have someone drive you after your high field MRI. Continue to take any medication prescribed by your doctor unless directed otherwise.

Because of the magnetic field, you will be asked to leave the following items in a safe place outside the scan room:

  • Coins
  • Jewelry
  • Watches
  • Glasses
  • Credit Cards
  • Keys
  • Hair Pens
  • Other Metal Objects
  • Some Cosmetics May Contain Metal

Some implanted devices are safe and can be imaged with MRI, others are not. Please notify our staff if you have implants, prior to your appointment with us.

You may also bring someone with you when you are being scanned.

High field MRI is a versatile diagnostic tool and is used to identify a variety of injuries, illnesses and diseases. Your doctor can explain the specific reasons for ordering your MRI scan.