Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, produces incredibly detailed cross-sectional images of your body without the use of radiation. Instead, patients enter a tube-shaped machine that creates images through sound waves and a magnetic field. Now Bristol Regional Medical Center is the only hospital in the region to offer the most powerful MRI technology available today—a new scanner system with a magnet strength of 3.0 Tesla. This painless, non-invasive procedure allows us to see superior images with greater clarity than ever before, which means shorter scan time for patients and more accurate diagnosis of a variety of diseases and injuries.

MRI and breast cancer

The American Cancer Society’s new screening guidelines support what Wellmont’s already been doing for several years—offering breast MRI to women at high risk for breast cancer. Available at the Imaging Center at Holston Valley Medical Center, breast MRI is more sensitive than a mammogram and therefore allows for better early detection. The ACS recommends that higher risk women combine an annual mammogram with breast MRI.

Preparing for MRI

Although MRI is an effective diagnostic tool, certain medical conditions will prevent individuals from having an MRI. Please inform your physician and our center personnel at the time of scheduling if you have either of the following:

  • Cardiac Pacemaker
  • Implantable Cardioverter Difibrillator (ICD)
  • Cochlear Ear Implant

Other certain medical conditions may prevent individuals from having an MRI. Please inform your physician and our center personnel at the time of scheduling if you have any of the following:

  • Metal fragments located in one or both eyes
  • Metal fragments or prosthesis within the body
  • Pregnancy
  • Certain type aneurysm clips
  • Other certain type of electrical or magnetic activated implants

It is very important that if you are pregnant or there is a possibility of pregnancy, or if you are breast feeding, that you inform your physician and the center personnel prior to your MRI.

If any of these conditions exist, your physician and/or the center radiologist will determine if you can be safely imaged or recommend an alternative diagnostic imaging procedure that can be safely performed for your condition.

  • We request that you arrive at least 15-30 minutes prior to your scheduled procedure time to complete paperwork and to change clothes if necessary.
  • Please wear loose-fitting clothes without zippers or snaps or metal objects. We may request that you to change into a clinic gown.
  • Please bring the written prescription your physician gave you for this procedure.
  • You will be requested to complete a detailed MRI screening questionnaire asking certain safety questions. This includes questions relating to pacemakers, implantable cardioverter defibrillator's (ICD's), cochlear ear implants, aneurysm clips, metal implants, metallic foreign bodies, pregnancy, breast feeding, body piercing, and tattoos. 
  • You should take all of your usual medications, but inquire about taking sedation or pain medication prior to your procedure if you have a fear or anxiety of small spaces or cannot lie still for 30-60 minutes at a time due to pain an/or anxiety condition.
  • If your MRI procedure requires sedation or pain medications, please bring a driver and notify our scheduling department.
  • Most MRI procedures do not have eating or drinking restrictions; however, our staff will inform you of any dietary restrictions that may be required at the time your procedure is scheduled.
  • No metal objects are allowed in the scan room. This includes, but is not limited to jewelry, watches, credit or bankcards, hairpins, clips or barrettes, wigs, hearing aids, beepers, keys or key chains, and loose pocket change.
  • You should remove all eye make-up before your procedure. Some make-up contains metal that may distort the images.
  • It is recommended that all body piercing jewelry be removed prior to the procedure. Some body piercing jewelry contains metal that can be a safety concern or can distort the images.
  • You will be provided a locker to store your personal items; however, we recommend that you leave all unnecessary valuables at home.
  • We strongly encourage you to ask questions and discuss any concerns you may have prior to your procedure. We strongly believe that communication with our patients is an important part of the service we provide.

If you have questions, please call the Wellmont Nurse Connection at 1-877-230-NURSE.