Why is your price so low?
First and foremost, we have a genuine desire to keep our health care services affordable for everyone. Because of this desire, we’ve built our business model centered on low fixed costs (low overhead). We have also developed business systems and processes that allow us to keep costs to our patients down.
“Now wait a minute, the average cost of an MRI is $1900 and you’re only charging $600? That’s like opening up a gas station and charging only $1.00 per gallon when all the other stations are charging $3.00. I’m very concerned my gas will be watered down at $1.00 per gallon. Sounds too good to be true . . . should I be concerned?”
Northwest MRI IS a very progressive Medical Imaging resource for the west coast. There are many imaging centers on the east coast that are providing MRI exams for similar pricing and this model is progressively moving out west. The new health care paradigm is for the patient (you), to be far more in control of the cost and payment of their own health care. Albeit, the initial cost and operation of a suitable MRI system is not small, providing more affordable scans to patients is very doable and economically sound. When you use Northwest MRI you are a head of the game.
Simply put, we can afford to charge individuals less than a hospital or a large imaging center because we pay less for office space, utilities, and other business related expenses. We have direct relationships with referring physicians, chiropractors, and other strategic partners, so we don’t spend a lot on marketing either.
We love being able to pass these savings on to our patients. One thing we haven’t compromised is our values or dedication to providing a fast, friendly, and professional service. Whether you utilize your health insurance coverage or are just paying for your services out-of-pocket, everyone wins.
Should I be concerned about the quality of your scans since your price so low?
No. Our Quality is the same, but our overhead is lower. Your MRI Scan is read by Board Certified Radioligists with top credentials in their field, based on the scans from Northwest MRI’s top quality 1.5 T GE MRI. Our super technicians will ensure that your scans are exactly the images your doctors need. As you know, an MRI exam includes the Radiology report. This report is what your doctor will most likely use to determine proper treatment and a quick and successful resolution to your health care issue. Our Radiology team are extremely fussy and demanding when it comes to the quality of the scan images they receive from us for them to interpret. They have the highest risk to ensure they properly provide accurate analysis of the medical images we provide. Therefore, if there is any question as to the quality or caliber of images we provide them that they feel will keep them from providing the most accurate diagnosis, it is rejected and we would need to re-scan. Out of the thousands of scans we’ve provided for them, we’ve rarely needed to provide a re-scan. If a re-scan was needed, it was typically due to the patient moving during the scan procedure.
Why should I use Northwest MRI?
View our page at Why Northwest MRI
Do you send any images out of the country for radiology reporting?
Absolutely not! All our radiologist’s are American Board Certified and practice in the United States.
Our radiologists are staff members of Third Eye Teleradiology and are highly trained specialists in Diagnostic Radiology. They are board certified by the American Board of Radiology and have additional training, either fellowship training in various areas of Diagnostic Radiology, or in subspecialties such as musculoskeletal, neurological, breast or nuclear imaging. To learn more about our doctors and/or Third Eye Teleradiology, please visit www.tetradiology.com.
What is included?
Our service includes an MRI examination, a CD of the MRI images for viewing and consultation, and a *radiologist report delivered within 24 hours.
*Radiologist report fee is typically $165 to $200, but at Northwest MRI we include it with the scan, to give you one low rate. Our Radiologists are specialists trained to read diagnostic images and produce detailed reports. This report is independent and provides the referring physician and patients with the information necessary to continue treatment for optimal care.
What is an MRI scan?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a painless diagnostic test that uses a strong magnetic field to produce detailed images of the structures inside the body without surgery or ionizing radiation (x-rays). MRI technology can “see” inside the bones as well as provide a clear picture of soft tissues and organs. MRI is used to image every part of the body, and is particularly useful for tissues such as the brain, muscle, connective tissue, and tumors.
How does an MRI work?
MRI produces extremely detailed images of tissue, organs and bones without using radiation. When a patient is exposed to radio waves in a strong magnetic field, electromagnetic energy is released. This energy is then measured and analyzed by a computer that generates a series of images of the scanned area, each of which shows a thin slice of the body. The images can then be studied from different angles by the interpreting physician.
Overall, the differentiation of abnormal tissue from normal tissues is often easier with MRI than with other imaging modalities such as x-ray, CT and ultrasound.
What is the difference between an MRI and CT?
Both MRI and CT make cross-sectional images (slices) of almost any area of the body using a sophisticated computer system. The major difference is that while an MRI uses a large magnet and radio waves to produce images, a CT scanner uses ionizing radiation. With the MRI studies, there is no exposure to ionizing radiation and there are no known side effects. The systems complement each other well as they both have their inherent strengths and weaknesses. CT, however, can only directly acquire transverse and coronal images, whereas MRI can directly acquire slices in any plane and is superior when it comes to soft tissue contrast.
Why is an MRI important?
This technology is important because MRI scans illustrate more clearly than ever before, the difference between healthy and diseased tissue, and can provide important information about the brain, spine, joints and internal organs. It can lead to early detection and treatment of disease and has no known side effects. Consequently, your physician will be better able to determine the most appropriate treatment for you.
What is an MRI with contrast?
As good as a standard MRI image is, the image can be improved even further by adding contrast. Contrast is dye that is injected intravenously into your vein during the MRI exam. Tumors and other abnormalities will absorb the contrast dye as it progresses through your blood vessels, and this area will be highlighted on the MRI scan. This allows for the detection of even the smallest tumors, and it also gives your doctor a clearer idea about the location and size of a tumor and which organs or tissues are involved. In addition, contrast allows a doctor to observe functional abnormalities that are not visible on a regular scan, particularly problems with how well your blood is flowing through your vessels.
Though most people tolerate MRI with contrast just fine, there are still some risks associated with the injection. The most common side effects include:
How safe is the MRI contrast dye? I had a reaction to the dye I was given it in CT. Can I still be injected with MRI dye?
MRI contrast agents are very safe. They are different from those used in CT, and are often used when CT contrast agents pose a risk to the individual.
What is an MRI used for?
Because MRI technology can “see” inside the bones as well as provide a clear picture of soft tissues and organs, it is used to image every part of the body. MRI is particularly useful for tissues such as the brain, muscle, connective tissue, and tumors. An MRI may be done to find a problem, or to provide more information about a problem seen on an X-ray, ultrasound scan, or CT scan.
MRI is an extremely valuable diagnostic tool in detecting everything from cancer, strokes, heart and vascular disease, and disorders of the joints and musculoskeletal system. The ability for physicians to avoid surgery and other invasive diagnostic procedures is also significant.
What equipment is used?
Our clinic uses a 1.5 T GE MRI scanner. It is a short bore scanner that fits patients up to 350 pounds. The majority of modern MRI systems are 1.5 Tesla and provide excellent images and superior comfort during the exam. The scanner is open at both ends for maximum comfort. Its advanced technology eliminates the need to reposition the patient and means shorter exam times. We do not use an Open MRI.
How do I prepare for my scan?
Before your scan, continue with your normal diet and continue any doctor prescribed medications, unless informed otherwise. Dress in comfortable, loose fitting clothing that has no metal fasteners, or you may be asked to change into a provided gown. Jewelry and other accessories should be left at home if possible, or removed prior to the MRI scan. Because they can interfere with the magnetic field of the MRI unit, metal and electronic objects are not allowed in the exam room. These items include:
- Jewelry, watches, credit cards and hearing aids
- Pins, hairpins, metal zippers and similar metallic items
- Removable dental work
- Pens, pocketknives and eyeglasses
- Body piercings
Tooth fillings and braces usually are not affected by the magnetic field but they may distort images of the facial area or brain, so the radiologist should be aware of them. You will be asked questions about allergies, past surgeries, and other medical history. Women should inform their technologist if there is any possibility of pregnancy.
It’s best not to eat or drink anything for 4 – 6 hours before the scan.
What if I am claustrophobic?
Our staff wants to make your exam as comfortable as possible. Please inform us of any concerns and talk to your physician about prescribing a mild sedative prior to your scheduled MRI. It is important to have someone at the exam to drive you home if any sedative prescription is taken. More about preparing for your MRI Scan
What should I expect during the exam?
The MRI machine looks like a large hollow tube with a padded table attached to it. Depending on the exam, an IV solution called contrast may be administered. Click here to learn more about MRI with contrast. The technologist will position you on the table according to what part of the body is being scanned. When you are comfortable, the table will move into the tube-shaped scanner and the technologist will leave the room.
You will be alone in the room, although the technologist can see, hear, and speak to you at all times. Once in the scanner, it is very important that you lay very still while the images are being recorded. This usually lasts for between a couple of seconds and a couple of minutes at a time. The technologist will tell you when the images are about to be recorded. Try to lay as still as possible while recording (for some exams you may be asked to hold your breath), though you will be able to relax between imaging sessions while still maintaining your position as much as possible.
While recording the MRI produces loud humming and thumping noises. We offer earplugs to reduce noise during the exam. After the exam is over you can immediately resume your regular activities and diet.
How long does an exam take?
MRI procedures are approximately 30-45 minutes in length dependent upon the type of examination and patient comfort. Each examination is tailored to physicians’ requests and patient needs.
Is an MRI safe?
An MRI is one of the safest imaging techniques available. It uses no radiation and the magnetic fields produce no known tissue damage of any kind. However, the MRI produces great magnetic pull on any iron-containing objects located on or within a patient’s body and may cause them to move suddenly with great force. For that reason, the following may prevent you from undergoing an MRI exam and should be made known to the Northwest MRI staff:
- Brain Aneurysm Clips
- A Pacemaker of Pacing Wires
- Metal fragments in one or both eyes
- Inner Ear Implants
- Implanted Spinal Cord Stimulator or Brain Stimulator
Can I have an MRI if I am pregnant?
There is no known risk of having an MRI if you are pregnant. However, make sure to inform the MRI technologist and/or radiologist before the MRI procedure. You should also inform them if you are breast-feeding and plan to have an MRI or an MRI with contrast.
Can a family member or friend come into the scan room with me?
Yes, family members or friends are allowed into the scan room only if they pass the MRI safety screening criteria.
Can you scan my whole body?
No. With the MRI scanner, we can image almost any part of the body; however, each scan is limited to a specific body part or area. It takes from 30 to 60 minutes to scan each area.
Are there any risks to having an MRI?
MRI uses no radiation. To date, no side effects from the magnetic fields and radio waves have been reported.
The most common type of contrast (dye) used is gadolinium. It is very safe. Allergic reactions to the substance rarely occur. However, gadolinium can be harmful to patients with kidney problems who require dialysis. If you have kidney problems, please tell your health care provider before the test.
The strong magnetic fields created during an MRI can make heart pacemakers and other implants not work as well. It can also cause a piece of metal inside your body to move or shift. Your physician will review your medical history and determine whether or not an MRI scan can be performed on you.
When will I get the results?
Your MRI scan will be read by our team of radiologists and the final report will be sent to your doctor within 24 hours of your exam. Your doctor will then discuss the results with you in detail.