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Radiology

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Overview

We offer in house imaging services with the availability to perform X-ray, CT and MRI's. Our MRI scanner is one of only three high tech upright open MRI scanners in the United States. The Esaote G-scan Brio’s open and tilting design allows the position of the patient to become an integral part of the examination. Many symptoms occur when you are in a weight-bearing or standing position. A conventional MRI may not be able to show an accurate view of the problem area. With the introduction of the weight-bearing (standing) position we are able gain a more complete understanding of the joint under examination.

MRI

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a painless way to look inside your body without using X-rays. Instead, it uses a large magnet, radio waves, and a computer to scan your body and produce detailed pictures that cannot be seen on conventional x-rays.

MRI's ability to easily differentiate between soft tissues makes it the best exam for many procedures, including head, spine and musculoskeletal studies.

Our open, upright MRI has unobstructed views in front and above you, allowing you to view your surroundings. We are the ONLY open, upright MRI in the Central Minnesota area!

MRI Exam Preparation

Each exam lasts 30 to 90 minutes. No special preparation is required. You may eat or drink as usual, unless your doctor has given you other instructions. Because the MRI uses a large magnet and metal objects interfere with the scan, you will be asked to remove and store valuables and other objects in a private lockbox.

It is important to tell us if you have a pacemaker, think you may be pregnant or have medical or dietary constraints that could interfere with the procedure. Also, please let us know if you are/were a machinist, welder, auto mechanic or work with metal in any capacity. It is very important to let us know if you even suspect you have anything metallic within your body, such as surgical clips, joint or bone pins, metal plates, unremoved bullets, shrapnel, BB shots, cochlear implants, neurostimulators or permanent tattoos. These items may interfere with the procedure.

Our technologist will help you lay down on a padded table that slides into the examining area. A device called a "coil" will be placed over or under you. It helps the MRI create a clearer picture.

Once you are comfortable, the technologist will step into the control area, staying in constant contact with you through the window and intercom. You will not feel anything during the exam, but you will hear different sounds (muffled thumping) for several minutes.

Try to relax as much as possible; any movement during this time will blur the picture. When the exam is done, the technologist will assist you off the table.

CT Scan

A computed tomography (CT) scan is an imaging method that uses x-rays to create pictures of cross-sections of the body. CT rapidly creates detailed pictures of the body. A CT of the spine can evaluate fractures and changes of the spine, such as those due to a variety of spinal conditions.

You will be asked to lie on a narrow table that slides into the center of the CT scanner. You will need to lie on your back for this test.

Once inside the scanner, the machine's x-ray beam rotates around you.

Small detectors inside the scanner measure the amount of x-rays that make it through the part of the body being studied. A computer takes this information and uses it to create a number of images, called slices. These images can be stored, viewed on a monitor, or printed on film. Three-dimensional models of organs can be created by stacking the individual slices together.

You must be still during the exam, because movement causes blurred images. You may be told to hold your breath for short periods.

In some cases, an iodine-based dye, called contrast, may be injected into your vein before images are taken. Contrast can highlight specific areas inside the body, which creates a clearer image.

In other cases, a CT of the lumbosacral spine may be done after injecting contrast dye into the spinal canal during a lumbar puncture to further check for pressure on the nerves.

The scan usually lasts a few minutes

X-Ray

X-rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation, just like visible light.

An x-ray machine sends individual x-ray particles through the body. The images are recorded on a computer or film.

Structures that are dense (such as bone) will block most of the x-ray particles, and will appear white.

Metal and contrast media (special dye used to highlight areas of the body) will also appear white.

Structures containing air will be black, and muscle, fat, and fluid will appear as shades of gray.

Before the x-ray, tell your health care team if you are pregnant, may be pregnant, or if you have an IUD inserted. Metal can cause unclear images. You will need to remove all jewelry and you may need to wear a hospital gown.

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