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What exactly is an MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging (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. In many cases, MRI gives different information about structures in the body than can be seen with an X-ray, ultrasound, or computed tomography (CT) scan.

What does MRI Suite mean?

The MRI Suite is the combination of areas (zones as they are often refer as) surrounding the MRI Scanner in a MRI facility.  

What are these zones that are in the MRI Suite?

Due to the powerful magnetic field used by the MRI Scanner, many MRI facilities and hospitals restrict access to the MRI Suite by establishing four conceptual zones around the MRI scanner. Each boundary zone in this four-zone safety system is defined by its purpose and distance from the MRI scanner. Since the magnetic field extends in three dimensions, some zones may extend into other areas or floors of the facility.

Why can’t I have anything metal in the MRI Suite?

The MRI Scanner is basically a large magnet. Therefore, like a magnet you would use on a refrigerator, it is attracted to metals. The MRI Scanner is a very large magnet, so it can attract even the largest metal items and a very fast speed. For example, if you had a ring on your finger near the MRI Scanner, it could pull it off at an increasingly fast, and dangerous, speed.

What are the benefits?

One of the greatest benefits of MRI Scanning is it is non-invasive, which means nothing pierces into the body, like a needle or a surgery. Instead, the MRI Scanner can produce images made by magnetic fields to see what is underneath the body. Another benefit is cost; it is more cost effective for both patients and facilities.

How can MRIs be improved?

There are numerous studies performed around the world to improve MRIs. One area of improvement is to better the image quality of MRI Scanners. Fortunately, most of the newest MRI Scanners have better image quality. There are also strides to improve patient comfort in the MRI Scanner, as it can be small, dark, and loud.

Why can’t I move during an MRI? What if I am claustrophobic?

Patients are asked to stay still during an MRI Scan in order to ensure the best image quality. Like a camera, if a subject is moving around, you will have a blurry picture. Due to most MRI Scanners being small, dark, and loud, it can cause anxieties in patients. There are strides to improve this area, with products like the MRI Stereo and SAMM System. MRI Stereo will play music to put patients at ease, and SAMM System is used by technicians to monitor patient movement and comfort in the MRI Scanner.   

What If I do move inside a MRI?

If you move in the MRI Scanner, you will produce an unclear image, and therefore an inconclusive scan. To prevent this, products like SAMM M.D. can monitor patients from various vantage points and relay the information to technicians. Thus, technicians can either help the patient and take steps to ensure the best quality image.


If you would like to learn more about MRI Stereo or SAMM M.D. please click on the links provided.

This is an adapted article from these sources linked here and here. Image is from this link.

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