Our Services

Imaging Services (Radiology)

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a technique that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues within your body.

Most MRI machines are large, tube-shaped magnets. When you lie inside an MRI machine, the magnetic field temporarily aligns all the water molecules in your body. Radio waves cause these aligned particles to produce very faint signals, which are used to create cross-sectional MRI images — like slices in a loaf of bread.

The MRI machine can combine these slices to produce 3-D images that may be viewed from many different angles.

High Definition, Superior Comfort

Our new MRI provides state-of-the-art technology and patient-comfort features including:

  • The only 16 channel breast biopsy capabilities on the Palouse
  • A 500 pound patient capacity
  • Head first or feet first scanning
  • A spacious and comfortable bore, ideal for claustrophobic patients

Why MRI is used

MRI is a noninvasive way for your doctor to examine your organs, tissues and skeletal system. It produces high-resolution images that help diagnose a variety of problems. MRI is the most sensitive imaging test of the brain and spinal cord. It's often performed to help diagnose:

  • Tumors
  • Developmental abnormalities
  • Aneurysms
  • Stroke
  • Pituitary gland diseases
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Dementia progression
  • Spinal cord injuries

MRI of the heart and blood vessels

An MRI that focuses on the heart or blood vessels can assess:

  • The size and thickness of walls in the heart's chambers
  • The extent of damage caused by heart attack or heart disease
  • The buildup of plaques and blockages in the blood vessels
  • Structural problems in the aorta, such as aneurysms or dissections

MRI of other internal organs

An MRI may be used to check for tumors or other abnormalities of the:

  • Lungs
  • Liver
  • Kidneys
  • Spleen
  • Pancreas
  • Uterus
  • Ovaries
  • Prostate
  • Testicles

MRI of bones and joints

MRI may be used to help evaluate:

  • Joint disorders, such as arthritis
  • Joint abnormalities caused by traumatic or repetitive injuries
  • Disk abnormalities in the spine
  • Bone infections

MRI of the breasts

MRI may be used in addition to mammography to detect breast cancer, particularly in women who have dense breast tissue or who may be at high risk of the disease.

Preparing for the exam

Before an MRI exam, eat normally and continue to take your usual medications, unless otherwise instructed. You will be asked to change into a gown and to remove:

  • Jewelry
  • Hairpins
  • Eyeglasses
  • Watches
  • Wigs
  • Dentures
  • Hearing aids
  • Underwire bras

The presence of metal in your body may be a safety hazard or affect a portion of the MRI image. Tell the technologist if you have any metal or electronic devices in your body, such as:

  • Metallic joint prostheses
  • Artificial heart valves
  • An implantable heart defibrillator
  • A pacemaker
  • Metal clips to prevent aneurysms from leaking
  • Cochlear implants
  • A bullet, shrapnel or any other type of metal fragment

Also tell the technologist if you think you're pregnant, because the effects of magnetic fields on fetuses aren't well understood. Your doctor may recommend choosing an alternative exam or postponing the MRI.


For most individuals, there are no known harmful effects from exposure to the magnetic field or radio waves used in making MRI images.