MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) uses large magnets and radio waves to create pictures of the body to find or monitor disease. The imaging scan is produced in slices without the use of x-ray radiation. The MRI can scan the whole body or body portions, such as of the abdomen, chest, head, heart, or spine. MRI is available in hospitals, some outpatient clinics, and free-standing imaging centers. Because of the strong magnets, metal objects not allowed near the machine. Metal zippers, hairpins, and eyeglasses are prohibited, and patients must tell the medical staff of the presence in the body of metals such as surgical clips, implanted pacemakers or defibrillators, cochlear implants. Patients should tell their doctor if they are afraid of close spaces may be mildly sedated to feel less anxious, or they may use an “open MRI,” which may be not as claustrophic. Some tests require a special contrast dye to be injected to make the images clearer. Patients lie on a narrow table that slides into a tube-shaped scanner. During the 30- to 60-minute MRI, the machine operator will observe and listen from an adjoining room. An intercom allows patients and staff to speak to each other at all times.
The diagnostic and therapeutic services provided by UAB Radiology play an important role in the comprehensive care delivered at UAB, and Radiology works with every department within UAB Medicine. Our radiology and interventional radiology physicians are national leaders in their field and widely published in peer-reviewed journals and textbooks. They are actively involved in testing and teaching for new techniques and equipment, and they partner with your other physicians to deliver care. UAB Radiology team members are committed to safety and use the American College of Radiology guidelines for dosage and safety procedures. UAB Interventional Radiology’s new ambulatory clinic – located within The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital – provides patients with enhanced pre-procedure evaluations, follow-up services, and more comprehensive care for complex conditions.
As part of a leading academic medical center, UAB Radiology oversees or participates in clinical trials that may provide new opportunities for low-dose drugs, more effective tests, and other new techniques and treatments that are not available elsewhere in the area. The extensive experience and expertise of our radiologists and technologists help ensure that the most accurate and in-depth testing is used in evaluating and treating your condition. We use the latest interventional devices and most advanced imaging techniques, including fluoroscopy, ultrasound, sonogram, and CT (computed tomography) scans. We perform an average of 7,600 CT scans and 3,600 sonograms each month, all while making your comfort and convenience our top priority. Our efficient, attentive staff and the availability of multiple imaging units will help your radiology visit go smoothly.
As a large teaching hospital, UAB Medicine is on the forefront of imaging equipment, and we frequently play a role in improving traditional and emerging imaging technologies, including some designed to reduce radiation exposure during tests. One example is the GE Healthcare CT 750 HD CT scanner, which is used at the UAB Radiology clinic to obtain high-definition images while reducing patients’ radiation exposure.
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