MRI...A Guided Tour

MRI: A Guided Tour
By Kristen Coyne

"Darn this aching back!”

That about sums up your thoughts as, flat on your back, clad in a thin hospital gown, you are guided into a dark, tunnel-like tube, a kind of medical solitary confinement where you’ll be spending the next 30 to 60 minutes. Your ears are stuffed with plugs, sound-cancelling headphones cradle your cranium, your extremities are stripped of watch, jewelry and other sentimental comforts, and you may feel a touch of claustrophobia. And it’s all because your orthopedist, worried about that chronic ache in your back, ordered an MRI scan.

Look on the bright side: MRI scans sure beat surgery, which was your only option 20-some years ago, before MRI became a routine, highly-valued diagnostic tool for doctors. In fact, when you take time to think about it, these machines are pretty amazing. And because you’ll be a captive audience while the technologist in the next room takes a bunch of fancy photos of your spine, we suggest you relax and let us tell you the story of the remarkable contraption in which you are, for the time being at least, stuck. We suggest you think of the cylinder as a kind of spacesuit, the machine as a spaceship, and you as an astronaut about to embark on a journey to the center of ... your body!