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An MRI technician is a medical professional who uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to take detailed pictures of structures inside the body. The images captured by the equipment are used by a physician to diagnose diseases. Most MRI technicians work in hospitals or diagnostic imaging centers.
MRI technicians must be adept at operating MRI equipment and able to treat patients in a kind, professional manner. Those interested in becoming an MRI technician must attend school to receive specialized training in the field. Students can choose to earn either an associate's or bachelor's degree.
The MRI scanner is a magnet shaped like a donut with a tunnel in the middle of the equipment. After the patient is arranged on a table, the table moves into the tunnel. As the patient rests inside the tunnel, radio waves are used to take pictures of the internal body. The resulting images can be transferred into three-dimensional pictures in order to more accurately diagnose a medical condition. A variety of health conditions can be diagnosed through use of the MRI.
The MRI scanner can detect problems relating to the joints, spinal cord, brain, lungs, chest, and other parts of the body. The test is safe, painless, and usually requires only about 20 to 90 minutes to be completed. Claustrophobic patients may need to be sedated in order to remain completely still during the process.
As the test is performed, the scanner emits humming and thumping sounds. Earplugs can be worn in order to alleviate some of the noise. At times, MRI scanners are equipped with music in order to help patients relax during the process. After the MRI technician conducts the scan, a radiologist reviews the report. The radiologist will then send the report to the physician who speaks with the patient about the results of the test.
When the MRI technician scans a patient, the exam can be used to diagnose various medical conditions. Heart diseases, reproductive organ tumors, and tumors in the chest, pelvis, or abdominal regions can be diagnosed with this type of scan. Endometriosis, breast cancer, liver diseases, and other health problems can also be detected with the assistance of an MRI scan.
There are many benefits to receiving an MRI. For example, the MRI does not use radiation and is an effective tool to diagnose medical problems such as tumors and other abnormalities within internal organs. This particular type of scan is noninvasive and can capture images that x-rays and CT (computed tomography) scans are unable to reveal. Although safe for most patients, the MRI should not be used on pregnant women. Despite its many benefits, the exam is expensive and requires more time than other imaging exams.
Those who are x-ray technicians sometimes upgrade their skills so that they can work on the MRI machines. As a MRI technician they can generally get a pay increase, which makes this an attractive option.
Usually MRI technicians can earn between $25-$33 an hour, which works out to a salary of roughly $48,000-$64,000 when you figure in vacation time.
Another bonus of becoming an MRI technician is that x-ray technicians no longer have to worry about radiation, as MRI machines don't use any ionizing radiation.
Most MRI machines have a ventilation fan and try to give the feeling of being an open and airy space. Unfortunately, those of us with claustrophobia can really have a panic attack in such a situation.
Don't try and be brave, if you feel like this, or are getting nervous, tell your MRI technician. They can get a doctor to give you a light sedative to help calm you down. A MRI test takes about 30-45 minutes, so you don't want to freak out in the middle of the test.
Also, a lot of MRI technicians keep music on hand. So you could also ask them to play some soothing tunes to distract you from the knocking noises and feeling of unease.
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