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How Does an MRI Scan Work?

If you’ve recently suffered an injury or are dealing with a condition, your doctor may have ordered that you have an MRI done to help him or her better understand the issue and determine how to treat the issue. If this is your first MRI, you may be nervous to go through the process, however it’s a standard test, similar to an x-ray.

Understanding what an MRI is and how it works will help you to be more comfortable and less nervous beforehand.

What is an MRI?

doctors_mri_sheet-300x191An MRI is a test that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of organs and structures inside the body. Typically, an MRI will give different information about these structures than an X-ray, ultra sound or other types of scans.

What is it used for?

MRI’s are used to identify problems such as tumors, bleeding, injury, blood vessel disease, or injuries in various parts of the body.

  • Head: When someone needs an MRI of the head, it can be to identify brain tumors, aneurysm, bleeding in the brain, nerve injury, stroke damage, or problems with the eyes and ears.
  • Chest: A chest MRI looks at the heart, the valves, and coronary blood vessels and can identify if the heart or lungs are damaged. It’s also sometimes used to look for breast cancer.
  • doctor-patient-300x194Abdomen: An MRI of the abdomen looks at the organs and structures in the stomach such as the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, kidneys and bladder. It can identify any major issues such as tumors, bleeding, infection and blockages.
  • Bones and joints: An MRI can look at any bone and joint in the body to identify problems such as arthritis, bone marrow, bone tumors, torn ligaments or tendons, or infection.
  • Spine: An MRI of the spine checks the discs and nerves for conditions such as spinal stenosis, disc bulges and spinal tumors.

How does it work?

An area of the body or the entire body is placed inside a machine that has a strong magnet, and the pictures from the MRI scan are saved and stored for doctors to study.

Some MRI machines are completely enclosed, while open machines do not enclose your entire body, leaving an open area by your feet and your head.

Premier Orthopaedics makes it easy for patients who need to have an MRI scan done. For your convenience, there are several different MRI locations so you can easily schedule an appointment there, rather than having to go to a hospital or another type of imaging center.

Among orthopaedic surgeons, Premier’s MRI locations are the number one choice for musculoskeletal MRI’s. Premier Orthopaedics offers the only dedicated orthopaedic MRIs in both Delaware and Chester counties. The radiologists specialize in the diagnosis of orthopaedic injuries and ailments in order to determine the best treatment methods for patients.

If your doctor told you that you must have an MRI done, click here to contact Premier Orthopaedics to schedule an appointment.


Premier Orthopaedics is the largest orthopaedic group in Delaware and Chester counties. Premier provides patients with the full spectrum of orthopaedic services; including bone, muscle and joint care. Patients trust our specialists for their experience, expertise and commitment to exceptional patient care.