Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Whitehorse General Hospital is home to Canada’s first magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner north of 60.
How it works
MRI is a safe and advanced diagnostic test that uses very powerful magnets (rather than radiation) along with pulses of radio waves to make detailed images of structures inside the body.
Where to go
Enter the hospital through the main entrance. Check in for your appointment at the MRI reception, which is located through the doors on the left as you enter the main atrium. There’s no need to check-in at the Admissions & Discharge desk for an MRI exam.
How do I prepare for my MRI test?
- bring your Yukon health care card
- arrive 30 minutes before your appointment time (MRI reception does not open until 7:00 AM)
- do not wear any jewelry/leave all valuables at home
- continue to take prescribed medications as normal unless otherwise advised by your physician
- for some exams you may be required to fast for 4-8 hours. Unless you are told otherwise, continue to follow your normal diet.
What can I expect during my MRI exam?
Upon arriving at the MRI suite, you will be greeted by our friendly and knowledgeable staff that will register and help you get ready for your test. Our dedicated MRI Technologist will walk you through the procedure and conduct your exam.
You will be required to change into a hospital gown and remove any/all objects that are not permitted in the MRI room. This includes all metallic, magnetic, electronic and mechanical implants, devices or objects. Your items will be securely locked for the duration of your exam. Once inside the MRI room, you will be asked to lie down on the bed, which will then slowly move you into the machine.
The MRI exam will take approximately 30-90 minutes depending on what exam your physician has ordered. Throughout the entire exam, the MRI machine will make various loud thumping sounds. Music or earplugs will be given to muffle the noise and help you be more comfortable and relaxed. Depending on your physician’s order, a contrast injection through an IV may be necessary to help better visualize the area being imaged.
Watch video: Go inside each area of WGH's Medical Imaging department to see the high-tech equipment used by our skilled staff to provide patient care and learn more about what to expect and how to prepare if you come to hospital for an imaging exam.
When will I receive my results?
Once the MRI exam is completed, a radiologist will review the images and provide a written report of the MRI exam findings to your physician. This usually takes a few days, depending on the clinical urgency of your MRI exam. Your physician will then review the results with you at your next scheduled appointment.
How is it different from other tests like x-ray?
While X-ray machines produce detailed images of dense materials (like bones), MRI is better for producing images of soft tissues, like muscles, ligaments and tendons.
There are many reasons to use MRI such as neurological, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and oncological investigations, but the test may also be done to provide additional information about an issue seen during a CT, x-ray or ultrasound exam. MRI exams are widely used in hospitals for medical diagnosis, staging of disease and for follow-up.
CT can often be confused with MRI, in part, because both machines look quite similiar. In fact, their use depends on what your doctor needs to know. Dr. Philip Pattison, radiologist for Whitehorse General Hospital, explains the similarities and differences between MRI and CT as well as why each are used and what you can expect if you come to hospital for an exam.