Monday, April 7, 2008

MRI Day...and do tattoos really hurt during one???

Today I headed to Victoria Hospital in London for a breast MRI.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive, usually painless medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.

MR imaging uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to produce detailed pictures. The images can then be examined on a computer monitor or printed. MRI does not use ionizing radiation (x-rays).

Detailed MR images allow physicians to better evaluate parts of the body and certain diseases that may not be assessed adequately with other imaging methods such as x-ray, ultrasound or computed tomography (also called CT or CAT scanning).

MRI of the breast offers valuable information about many breast conditions that cannot be obtained by other imaging modalities, such as mammography or ultrasound.

Image of a breast MRI
(not my breast! LOL)

Preparing for today was fun! I spent almost an hour Sunday night removing all my piercings (I have 30). Even though piercing jewelry is surgical stainless steel and non-magnetic, they will not scan anyone with any piercings in so I undertook the job of removing them all. Some were more difficult to remove than others, but it was more psychological than physical. I've had these a long time and they sort of defined me.

Now, the scan itself...

I was pretty anxious all morning. My wonderful friend Sharron came along to London with me for moral support. We got to Victoria Hosptial in oodles of time, which was nice. I had to fill out the necessary paperwork and they called me in after only about a 5 minutes wait. The technicians were wonderful (and one was really cute!). The cute one gave me my IV...OUCH! It hurt as I have small veins. He tried to keep my mind off of it by chatting to me about my tattoos. The MRI was a little intimidating to start, I was lying in what they call a "breast coil" on my stomach and went into the machine feet first. There was an intercom in the scanner, so the technologists could hear me if I needed anything at all...and they spoke to me a few times during the process. I wore headphones playing some pretty heavy music to protect my ears from the noice of the's REALLY loud. About half-way through, a machine injected the gadolinium into my was a weird sensation. It felt really cold. The whole process took about 35 minutes or so. The most unpleasant part was laying still for that length of time. To be honest, I almost fell asleep in there!

...and for the record, no, my tattoos didn't feel a thing although the technicians asked me to let them know if I did...they are tracking tattooed peoples' responses. Apparently red ink has been known to show up on imaging although it doesn't actually hurt the tattoo. Older inks from 25+ years ago, has been known to give 3rd degree burns because the old ink had iron in it...OUCH! Glad that didn't happen to me.

Guess I'll be spending tonight trying to put my piercings back in!!!

I feel much better now that it's over. Now the waiting for results begins...stay tuned...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I"m glad everything went ok! good luck getting your piercings back in :P tee hee
Love Tina