Ultra Hi-Field 3.0 Tesla MRI: Exams & Preparation


What is a High-Field MRI?

The high-field MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is so named because of the strong magnet it uses to produce images of the inside of the body. This technology is the same as that used in our open MRI, with some slight differences. While most MRI devices operate at a magnet strength of 1.5 Teslas, our high-field MRI is a 3.0 Tesla machine.

MRI Uses

The high-field MRI is used to create detailed pictures of the soft tissues surrounding your bones. This makes it ideal for identifying a number of common sports injuries, including ligament and muscle damage in your:

  • Knees
  • Shoulders
  • Elbows
  • Hips
  • Wrists

The high-quality images produced by an MRI scan are also great for detecting problems with your organs. This can help your physician identify potentially serious conditions like coronary artery disease. It can also produce images of your abdominal organs.

  • Heart
  • Lungs
  • Liver
  • Kidney
  • Spleen
  • Pancreas

Advantages of a High-Field MRI

Compared with an open MRI, high-field MRI scans have a number of advantages. The images produced have a higher resolution than other techniques. The scans can also be taken quickly. In order to detect certain conditions, your physician can use the high-field MRI to see physiological processes as they happen. Finally, this type of MRI can reproduce fine anatomical detail in regions like the brain.

What to Expect During Your High-Field MRI

Like an open MRI procedure, a high-field MRI will require you to lie down while the scanner takes images. However, the high-field MRI is an enclosed machine. Although some patients find the enclosed space confining, you should know that you can bring a friend with you, provided he or she doesn’t have a cardiac pacemaker. A special antenna may be placed on the part of your body being scanned. If you are having your brain scanned, your head will rest in a special fixture. During the scan, you won’t feel anything, although you may hear some low rumbling noises coming from the machine. In order to create a clear image, you will need to stay as still as possible during your scan. A microphone will be nearby in case you need to ask the technician for anything.

Contrast Injections

Although most patients are well-served by the clear images produced by an unaided scan, in some cases injections will be needed to create a clearer picture. This typically only applies to patients who have scar tissue from previous surgical procedures in the region being scanned. In these instances, a contrast agent will be injected into the arm to help make the image clearer.

Special Considerations

All MRI scans are performed exclusively on the recommendation of a doctor. Because the magnet affects the entire room, you and anyone accompanying you will need to be free of certain items when entering the room. In addition to cardiac pacemakers, the following items will need to be left outside of the MRI room.

  • Cell Phones
  • Pagers
  • Watches
  • Eyeglasses
  • Hearing Aids
  • Credit Cards

Basically any metallic items that can be removed from your person should be. This also includes items like coins and jewelry.

If you are uncomfortable in enclosed spaces, you may be offered a sedative to help your relax. For our claustrophobic patients, we also have an open MRI machine here at San Gabriel Valley Diagnostic Center.