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MRI is a painless, non-invasive test used to diagnose and treat medical conditions. It uses radiofrequency waves and a strong magnetic field to produce clear, multidimensional images of internal organs and structures.

Why Might I Need an MRI?

The high-resolution images produced by MRI technology can help diagnose a variety of problems, including:

  • Back pain
  • Head and neck conditions
  • Shoulder, elbow, wrist, fingers, hips, knees, ankle and foot injuries
  • Abdomen and pelvic diseases
  • Tumors and abnormalities in many internal organs such as liver, kidneys, pancreas, uterus, ovaries and prostate
  • Breast cancer

Advanced MRI Technology

Cape Cod Healthcare provides convenient access to advanced MRI imaging. In addition to our three 1.5-tesla MRI machines located across Cape Cod, Cape Cod Healthcare offers a 3-tesla (3T) MRI scanner at Wilkens Outpatient Medical Complex in Hyannis, which provides the most powerful FDA-approved MRI scanning technology available. 

Additionally, as part of a joint venture between Cape Cod Healthcare and Shields Health Care Group, a second 3T machine will be available on Cape Cod in spring 2021 at Shields MRI in Yarmouth. This machine is the first in the Cape and Islands region to use artificial intelligence technology, combining high quality resolution and reduced scan time.

The increased image clarity provided by the 3T MRI delivers enhanced views of the brain, spine and particularly the vascular system, a benefit unreachable by less powerful technology. This ability may allow a 3T angiogram scan to replace invasive vascular testing, like diagnostic catheter procedures.

Our 3T MRI also performs FAST MRI breast cancer screening with accelerated imaging that offers highly effective detection of breast masses, particularly in patients with dense breasts. Breast cancer screening at the Cuda Women’s Health Center in the Wilkens Outpatient Medical Complex uses FAST 3T MRI, which takes just three to five minutes.

How to Prepare

Please arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment to allow time for insurance paperwork and patient screening with an MRI technologist.

A few additional steps can also ensure your safety and comfort in the MRI environment:

  • Dress in comfortable clothing with no metal zippers or buttons*
  • Wear a sport bra without underwires
  • When possible, leave jewelry and other valuables at home

*Because MRI uses a magnet, metal can interfere with the image. Belts, zippers and buttons may contain metal, so if you dress with these items, your MRI technologist may ask you to change into a hospital gown/pants.

The only exams where there is a specific preparation is for abdominal studies (Abdomen, MRCP, and Enterography). Nothing by mouth 4-6 hours prior to exam, except for diabetics. For diabetics, we ask them to be NPO 2 hours prior. Medication to be taken as usual.

MR Arthrogram

No special preparation is needed for an MR arthrogram. You can eat and drink as you normally would and should take any prescribed medicines. If you have had an allergic reaction to contrast agents, please contact your referring physician as he or she may recommend other diagnostic procedures. If you have bleeding problems or are currently on anticoagulants, such as Coumadin or aspirin, inform your doctor before the scheduled exam.