Everyone knows Green Day's song, "Wake Me Up When September Ends", and since today is the last day of September, we figured we could pay tribute to the popular song and relate it to the world of imaging. Can't see the relationship between the two? Let us help you out.
Is it over yet?
It turns out, one of the number one questions or concerns patients have regarding MRI imaging is how long the procedure will last. MRI's, especially closed MRI's, are not the most comfortable procedures in the world and the patient is required to lie very still for quality images which can cause restlessness. Trying to lay still while inside a huge (sometimes loud) machine is very daunting and can feel like it is taking the whole month of September to get through. Having no idea how long you could be in the procedure doesn't help the discomfort or restlessness, so here's some information to help you have a better understanding and (hopefully) a better imaging experience.
How long is this going to take?
The general estimate for MRI scans is about 15-90 minutes, but that is still a very wide range. To be more specific, a single scan can last anywhere from a few seconds to three or four minutes. However, it all depends on the area that is being scanned. The rule of thumb is "the bigger the area, the longer the scan". Since MRI's are special in the fact that they can take images on multiple planes, if an area has a lot of different planes or angles that need to be scanned, then the procedure will take longer too.
For example, if someone is getting his or her knee scanned, chances are it will be a much shorter procedure than someone who is getting a full spinal scan simply due to the sizing alone. Additionally though, a full spinal scan could possibly require a full 360 degree imaging procedure (which means many more planes to cover and capture), whereas the knee scan could be pretty simple.
Hopefully this brief run down helps you have a better idea of how long your MRI procedure could last, but we still highly recommend asking the professional medical staff that will be helping you for more specifics. Having a time estimate to hold on to will help the procedure pass without feeling like you're miserably stuck for a month, unlike Green Day. Feel free to schedule an appointment with us or contact us if you have any questions about your imaging needs!