3-Tesla MRI

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is an advanced diagnostic test that generates highly detailed images of the body.  Unlike many other advanced imaging techniques, MRI does not use radiation (x-rays).  Instead, a safe, powerful magnetic field and radiofrequency waves are utilized to generate the diagnostic images.

The Tesla (T) is the unit of strength of the magnetic field.  The stronger the magnetic feld, the greater the level of detail and contrast in the images.  The initial MRI systems (and most open MRI systems today) have a field strength of less than 0.6 T.  After introduction in 1982, 1.5 T imaging systems soon became the reference standard for high quality MRI, and remain the most commonly used field strength in hospitals and outpatient settings today.  The 3.0 T MRI system utilized at Park West Imaging is the highest field strength widely available for clinical use, and reflects the latest in MRI technology.

The field strength alone is far from the only important variable in producing the highest quality diagnostic images, as is our goal at Park West Imaging.  We also employ a large array of gradient coils specifically designed for different parts of the body.  These coils help harness the power of the magnet, and ensure the images, upon which accurate diagnosis is dependent, are of exceptional quality and clarity.

Who performs and interprets MRI exam?

While the technology is impressive, ultimately MRI is simply a tool.  Like many tools, the best results are achieved in the hands of those with advanced education and skill.  Your exam will be performed by a technologist who has years of training and experience specialized in MRI, under the direction of an on-site attending radiologist.  The radiologists reviewing your MRI at Park West Imaging are physicians who specialize in and have advanced training in MRI.  They will tailor your exam to suit your body and symptoms, and will interpret your exam.

Preparing for your MRI exam

Preparing for an MRI exam is easy.  Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, you may take your medications as usual.  There are no food or drink restrictions, either.

Some general considerations:

  • When you schedule your exam, let us know if you are claustrophobic, and appropriate arrangements will be made.  Persons with severe claustrophobia may consider taking a sedative prior to the exam.  Oral sedation can be prescribed by your healthcare provider and taken 30 minutes prior to the exam.
  • Please let us know if you are, or suspect you may be, pregnant.  MRI is generally not recommended during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, however, there is no evidence that a hazard exists.  In certain cases, an MRI exam may be preferable to a CT scan or x-rays.
  • MRI and metal do not mix.  You will be asked to remove all loose, foreign, or metal objects prior to the exam (such as cellular phones, jewelry, keys, watches, coins, dentures, body piercing rings, eyeglasses, hair pins, hearing aids, credit cards, or transdermal patches).
  • Do not bring unnecessary items with you.  Lockers are provided to keep your belongings secure during your exam.
  • Your hair should be dry and free of wet styling gel.  You may be asked to remove eye make-up if the exam involves the head or neck.
  • Patients with certain metal devices cannot be scanned (such as pacemakers, certain types of aneurysm clips, implanted nerve stimulators, cochlear implants, or embedded shrapnel).  When you schedule your exam, let us know if you have an implanted device, so that we may evaluate its safety.  If you have a device that is not MRI safe, in some cases we can recommend and schedule an appropriate alternative test, after the radiologist reviews your case with your healthcare provider.

What to expect during your MRI exam

The exam is one of the easiest and most relaxed imaging techniques you may experience.  Depending on the complexity of the study, each exam may take between 30 and 60 minutes, although more time may be needed for very detailed exams.  At Park West Imaging, we don't follow a "one size fits all" approach.  Instead, the exam will be tailored to fit you, your special needs, and designed to best demonstrate the potential diagnoses based on your symptoms.

  • You will be asked to change into an exam gown if your clothing has metallic snaps, buttons, or zippers.  You may wear sweat pants, shorts, and T-shirts for the exam.
  • The technologist will ask you to lie down on a cushioned, moveable table and will place a receiver coil around or near the body part being examined.
  • The table will then slide into the magnet housing after you have been comfortably positioned.
  • The technologist will leave the room, but will be in constant contact with you throughout the exam via intercom.
  • During the scan, you will hear noises that range from tapping to loud knocking as the images are obtained.  Earplugs or headphones will be provided for your comfort.  For many exams, you may listen to music, and you may bring your own CD or MP3 player if you prefer.  (MP3 players are not allowed in the scan room with you, but are instead attached to an MRI safe sound system at the technologist's console so that you may listen to your music during the exam).
  • Relax -- even take a nap.  Aromatherapy may be provided if you wish.
  • Lie as still as possible.  Moving during the exam will degrade image quality, and may require repeating parts of the exam.
  • Your doctor may request that a contrast agent be administered.  If this is the case, an intravenous (IV) line may be inserted prior to your scan.

After you MRI exam

There are no after effects of an MRI examination.  Following an MRI exam, you will be able to immediately resume your pre-examination activities.

A Board Certified radiologist will interpret your MRI exam and will generate a formal report.  This report will be sent to your healthcare provider, who will integrate the results of your MRI exam with your physical exam findings and other laboratory testing.  Your provider will then discuss the results with you, and may recommend a treatment plan for your condition.  In some cases, your healthcare provider may recommend additional testing to further assess your condition.



3T MRI Spine

MRI Hand

MRI Abdominal


3-Tesla’s improved visualization of articular cartilage, ligaments and nerves makes it easier to confirm or rule out small-joint pathology. This greater ability to differentiate pathology from anatomic variants allows enhanced monitoring of disease progression and earlier, more effective treatments.

MRI FiberTrak Brain Nerve Fibers

MRI Brain



3-Tesla MRI provides improved imaging sensitivity to detect brain tumors and hemorrhages and allows better surveillance for treatment. This advanced imaging increases the ability to diagnose Alzheimer's and TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) or "mini-stroke." TIA is a warning stroke that produces stroke-like symptoms but no lasting damage. Early recognition of TIA and prompt treatment can reduce the risk of a major stroke.

ParkWest Imaging supplements our 3T MRI neurological imaging by implementing Fibertrak, Spectroscopy and Diffusion Tensor Imaging. Fibertrak displays nerve fibers in the brain, clearly displaying how injury or disease will affect these fibers, thus affecting physical and behavioral function.

GE Discovery

3T MRI Machine

Spa Environment