Test Details & Preparation
Magnetic resonance imaging (or MRI) is a type of non-invasive imaging test that uses magnets and radio waves to create pictures of the inside of the body. In a chest MRI, magnets and radio waves create black and white images of the chest, which allow doctors to check your tissues and organs for abnormalities without making an incision. MRIs also create images that see beyond your bones - and include soft tissue.
Your doctor may order an MRI scan if he or she suspects that something is wrong in your chest area and feels that the cause of the problem cannot be determined through a physical examination. Your doctor may want you to undergo a chest MRI due to see if you have blocked blood vessels, cancer, disease affecting the organs, heart problems, injury, pain, tumours or needing to examine the lymph system.
Before the test, tell your doctor if you have a pacemaker. Also, the MRI uses magnets, which can attract metals. Tell your doctor if you have any type of metal implanted from previous surgeries, such as artificial heart valves, clips, implants, pins, plates, screws, staples or stents.
You may need to fast for four to six hours before the exam-check with your doctor to be sure.
Preliminary results from a chest MRI may come within a few days, but comprehensive results can take up more time. Your doctor will most likely call you in to discuss your results, and plan a treatment for problems identified. If your results were normal, he or she may order more tests to help diagnosis the cause of your symptoms.