Pandora radioThat’s what some MRI patients may tell you after their MRI experience at Diagnostic Imaging Services.

Music is often referred to by many as life. It’s been referred to as “what feelings are like,” the shorthand of emotion” and “what makes the world go round.”

We’ll add to that by saying it’s what makes undergoing a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) exam more pleasant.

Diagnostic Imaging Services has installed and connected Pandora internet radio to all of our MRI systems. We are 100% live! When you have an MRI at DIS, all  you need to do is inform our technologist what your musical preference would be. Is it jazz? Classical? Country? Oldies? Easy listening?

Because of the depth of music available on Pandora, the options are wide and varied.

The heart of an MRI is basically just a strong magnet and a radio transmitter and receiver, plus a lot of electronics to coordinate their operation. The magnet creates a strong magnetic field, hundreds of thousands of times stronger than the earth’s magnetic field; the radio transmitter beams an intense burst of radio waves into the patient to excite the wobbling protons; and the receiver detects the protons’ faint radio signal.

To create an image, an MRI must determine which radio signals are coming from which protons and plot these protons in their proper locations. To distinguish protons from one another, an MRI will manipulate both the magnetic field and the burst of radio energy so that protons in different parts of the patient emit slightly different radio signals. The MRI detects these different signals, figures out automatically where they came from, and builds up a three-dimensional image.

An MRI is noisy because its magnetic field is created by running electrical current through a coiled wire—an electromagnet. When the current is switched on, there is an outward force all along the coil. And because the magnetic field is so strong, the force on the coil is very large.

When the current is switched on, the force on the coil goes from zero to huge in just milliseconds, causing the coil to expand slightly, which makes a loud “click.” When the MRI is making an image, the current is switched on and off rapidly. The result is a rapid-fire clicking noise, which is amplified by the enclosed space in which the patient lies.

So, while that clicking and banging is going on during your MRI, close your eyes and get lost in the music of your choice. Just remember — no humming, singing or dancing while having the MRI!