Shields MRI at UMass Memorial Medical Center
A partnership with Shields Health Care Group, Shields MRI at UMass Memorial Medical Center provides high-quality, affordable MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and PET/CT (positron emission tomography/computed tomography) services. All images are interpreted by experienced radiologists who specialize in reading MRI and PET/CT.
Most Comprehensive MRI and PET/CT Services in Central Massachusetts
MRI is a radiation-free test that uses radio waves, magnetic fields and computer software to create detailed cross-sectional images of the body. This technology allows medical professionals to “see” inside the body with outstanding clarity. This allows physicians to identify areas of treatment, track progress and rule out serious problems with greater speed and accuracy than ever before. MRI scans involve no surgery, no radiation, no hospitalization and have no known side effects.
PET/CT is the most advanced medical imaging technique available today. It combines PET’s ability to detect changes in cell activity with the fine structural detail that CT scans provide. This revolutionary technology enables your physician to detect the presence of disease earlier and pinpoint its location with much greater accuracy than PET or CT scans alone. PET/CT scans provide a powerful tool for diagnosing and staging cancer, evaluating coronary artery disease, and setting apart Alzheimer’s disease from other forms of dementia.
We offer the latest technology equipment, including open magnets. We provide all conventional MRI and PET/CT services and our experienced staff members perform the most comprehensive array of specialty MRI and PET/Ct scans in the region. Specialty MRI scans include:
- Abdominal MRI including specialized imaging of the liver, kidneys, pancreas and prostate
- Musculoskeletal imaging: shoulder, hip, knees, etc.
- Spine imaging
- Neuro-imaging, including fMRI (functional brain imaging)
- Pediatric imaging (with sedation if needed)
- Pediatric and adult sedation
- Rectal and prostate
- fMRI (functional brain imaging)
Specialty PET/CT scans examine clinical indications rather than body segments. Clinical indications include:
- Brain tumor
- Breast cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Head & neck cancer
- Lung cancer
- Musculoskeletal tumors
- Ovarian cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Myocardial viability
- Coronary artery disease
- Preoperative prognostic assessment
Preparing for an MRI and PET/CT
Please plan on arriving at least one-half hour before your scheduled appointment to allow time to complete insurance information and patient screening with an MRI technologist. Please bring any prior images and lab work to your appointment.
You can usually eat and drink normally, as well as take your normal medications unless instructed otherwise in advance.
To assure your safety and comfort:
- Dress comfortably without metal zippers or buttons*
- Wear sport bras without underwires
- When possible, leave jewelry and other valuables at home
- Remove any patch medications or an external mechanical devices, or let us know if you’ve been medically instructed not to
*Since MRI uses a magnet, metal can interfere with the image. Belts, zippers and buttons can contain metal, so if you dress with these items we may ask you to change into a gown or pants.
After receiving your history and copies of any prior exam results, a specialist will administer a radiopharmaceutical injection. Then you will be asked to wait approximately 50 minutes in a comfortable, dimly lit room while the tracer material distributes throughout your body.
Patients scheduled for a heart study may not have to wait. The radiopharmaceutical used for cardiac exams is often given just before the scanning begins.
To prepare for your PET/CT exam, please follow these instructions:
- You should not eat anything or chew gum for 4 to 6 hours before your test. Please drink water so you are hydrated.
- If you take medications, you may take them like you normally do with water.
- If you have been asked not to take your medications on an empty stomach, eat nothing more than a few soda crackers within the 4 to 6 hours prior to your exam.
- If you are a diabetic, let us know ahead of time so we can work out with your physician to determine the safest possible way for you to prepare for your exam.
- If you feel feverish, please call this to our attention.
The exam is non-invasive, and causes no discomfort, and can last anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes.
What to Expect During Your Exam
Once in the exam room you’ll recline comfortably on a cushioned table and your exam will begin. Depending on the information your doctor needs your MRI may require the use of an intravenously injected contrast, which will help show certain structures in your body. If prescribed, this contrast will be administered by a specially trained technologist. You will be in constant communication with your technologist throughout the exam.
As the MRI scanner obtains each series of images, you will hear persistent buzzing and thumping noises but at no time will you experience any physical sensation or discomfort. If you wish, you may wear earplugs or listen to music during your exam.
At our Shrewsbury Street location, we offer a state-of-the-art, 1.5T high-field, open-bore MRI machine. This machine has a 70 cm, wide-bore opening and a short bore length (bed), allowing most patients to be scanned with their head out of the machine for scans below the chest. This open-bore feature offers great comfort, particularly for large patients or those that suffer from a fear of small spaces. This machine is unique in its ability to offer a high-field strength in addition to the wide-bore, ensuring both superior image quality and comfort when compared to lower strength machines.
During the exam, all you have to do is lie still and follow the technologist’s simple instructions. MRI images are very sensitive to motion. Even the slightest movement can distort the image and limit its diagnostic value, so it is important for you to remain as still as possible during your scan. Most MRIs last 20 to 40 minutes, although some can last up to an hour. After the scan you can return to home or work.
You will be asked to lie on a comfortable table that moves slowly through the ring-like PET/CT scanner as it acquires the information it needs to generate diagnostic images. We will ask you to lay very still, because movement can interfere with the results.
You should not feel a thing during the scan, which can last anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes. Then, unless the physician sees a need for acquiring additional information, you will be free to leave.
Plan to spend approximately two hours for your exam, which includes completing all necessary paperwork.
You may be asked to wait for 15 minutes after the scan has been completed, to take your cd with you. Unless you receive special instructions, you will be able to eat and drink immediately - drinking lots of fluids will help remove any of the radiopharmaceutical that may still be in your system.
In the meantime, we will begin preparing the results for review by our diagnosticians, and then by your physician, who will tell you what we have learned.