Does it Matter Where You Get An MRI?

Yes, it does.  MRIs are best done at facilities that have  experience with your type of test.  You want technologists and radiologists who have experience and preferably additional training in the body part being scanned.  You want MRI machines which are operate at the greatest magnet strength to get the best images.

MRIs are complex tests which have a lot of detail.  They often determine your diagnosis and treatment course.  MRIs like many other procedures in medicine are best done at high volume centers.  This is particularly true when your having a less common exam done.

Subspecialized radiologist interpretation is important

While lowest price and convenience are certainly factors to consider, there are other more important factors.  Having a subspecialized radiologist interpret your MRI is important.  If your having a brain or spine MRI done, a neuroradiologist is preferable.  This is a radiologist who has spent 1-2 years beyond regular radiology training getting more training and expertise in diseases of the brain and spine.

MRIs of the bones and extremities are best interpreted by a specialist in musculoskeletal imaging.  This is a radiologist who has spent an additional year in training dedicated to bones and joints.

MRIs of the abdomen and pelvis are best interpreted by dedicated body specialists.  These are usually radiologists who have spent an additional year beyond residency training in imaging of the abdomen and pelvis.

Experience with your type of exam is important

A center which has experience with your particular type of exam is also important.  The technologists who perform the exam must also have experience.  The machine should be either a 1.5 or 3T strength.  There are lower strength magnets which produce lower quality images.  This can prevent a diagnosis from being made and obscure abnormalities.

MRIs of the body are complex exams which require expertise.  They should best be performed in a high volume center.  They should preferably be interpreted by a specialized radiologist.   They should be performed on a higher strength magnet at 1.5 or 3T.

How do I get information on the facility?

You can call the facility before scheduling to see how many tests are done and whether a specialized radiologist will be interpreting your test.  You can also ask about turn around time for reports, especially if you have an upcoming appointment.  You can ask your referring doctor about the service and quality of reports produced at the facility.

Disclaimer: The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.

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