If you have been told that you are taking a trip to radiology, there are plenty of scans that you might be receiving. Some of the most common examples include x-ray scans, CT scans, and MRIs. If you are getting an MRI, you probably want to get the results as quickly as possible. Therefore, when is an MRI scan ordered and how long is it going to take to get your results? There are a few key examples to keep in mind.
What Is an MRI?
First, it is important for everyone to understand what an MRI is. MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. An MRI uses an extremely powerful magnet to produce an image on a computer screen. When your body is exposed to a magnet, the individual molecules that make up your body are going to respond in a certain way. Depending on the molecular structure, these atoms are going to respond differently. The MRI scan is going to capitalize on these differences to produce a detailed image. An MRI is arguably the most detailed imaging scan that can be ordered. In addition to the quality of the image, there are several other benefits that everyone should understand.
What Are the Advantages of Ordering an MRI?
There are several main benefits of ordering an MRI. Some benefits include:
- It is difficult to top the quality of the image that an MRI produces
- An MRI will produce its image using no radiation at all, reducing side effects
- You can receive an unlimited number of MRI scans in your life without having to worry about radiation causing cancer
On the other hand, there are a few drawbacks as well. For example, you cannot get an MRI if you have metal inside your body because the giant magnet will simply pull it out. In addition, an MRI scanner also takes a long time to produce results, making it unsuitable for an emergency situation.
How Long Does it Take To Get MRI Results?
Ultimately, the answer to this question is that it depends. In some situations, you may get your MRI scan results back in as little as a few hours. In other cases, it might take a few days. There are a lot of factors that will play a role and how long it takes you to get the results of your MRI. Some of the biggest factors include:
- The Timing of the Scan: Depending on when you have your MRI stand, it may take longer for you to get your results. For example, if you get your MRI scan done in the middle of the night, on a weekend, or during a holiday, it may take longer for the radiologist to get to your scan.
- The Priority Level of the MRI Scan: In addition, it will also depend on the priority level of your MRI scan. For example, if your MRI scan is an emergency, then the doctor will label it “STAT” so the radiologist reads it more quickly. On the other hand, if your MRI scan is non-emergent, this doesn’t mean that it isn’t important. It simply means that other people’s MRI scans might be more important and will be read first.
- The Size of the MRI Scan: Another factor that will play a role is the size of the MRI scan. For example, if you are getting an MRI of your entire body, it is going to take the radiologist longer to read this scan. On the other hand, if you are only getting an MRI scan of your head, that it might be read more quickly.
- The Use of Any Special Adjustments or Chemicals: In some situations, a specialized radiologist might be required to read your MRI scan. For example, if you have an unusual contrast agent that was used during your MRI scan, you might need to wait for a specialized radiologist to take a look at this. Or, if there is a specific body part that is being analyzed, you may need to wait for a radiologist who is capable of reading exactly what your doctor is looking for. Furthermore, if the MRI scan was ordered on a child, a specialized pediatric radiologist might be required to read it.
- The Quality of the Image: Finally, the quality of the image is also going to play a role. If there was a lot of movement around the MRI scan, or if there is artifact in the way, it might take longer for the scan to get read.
These are just a few of the biggest factors that will play a role in how long it takes to get your MRI results. If your doctor feels like your MRI results need to come back faster, he or she will let the radiologist know in order to expedite the process. If you are getting an MRI scan done in the hospital, you should expect your scan to come back in a few hours. If you are receiving an outpatient MRI, it might take a few days.
Rely on the Help of a Compassionate Accident Physician
If you are waiting for your MRI results, it is normal to be nervous. Make sure that you rely on a compassionate physician to walk you through the process. Doctor Wagner would be happy to lend you a helping hand, so feel free to reach out today!