What is a MRI?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses a magnetic field and radio waves instead of X-ray to display many parts of the body, especially the brain, spine, and joints.

What is the Exam Like?

Exams usually take 30 to 60 minutes.  It consists of several image exposures lasting 10 to 15 minutes.  You will be asked to remove your eyeglasses, watch, jewelry, cell phone, credit cards, dentures, hearing aids, and any other metallic objects you are carrying.  Then, the technologist will help you lie down on a cushioned table.  A device called a “coil” will be placed over or under you.  It helps the MRI system create a clear picture of your body.  When you are comfortably positioned, the table will move under the magnet.  The technologist will then step in the control area, while staying in contact with you both visually and through an intercom

As the exam process, you will hear a muffled thumping sound for several minutes at a time.  Other than the sound, the MRI creates no bodily sensation.  Relax and try to lie as still as possible.  Any movement during this time will blur the picture.  When the exam is finished, the technologist will help you off the table.

Do I need to Prepare for the Exam?

No special preparation is needed.  Eat normally and take medication as usual, unless your doctor has given you other instructions.  You may find it easier to relax if you avoid drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages before the exam.

Is There Any Risk?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging is very safe.  There are no health risks associated with the magnetic field or the radio waves used by the machine.  However, some special circumstances limit the use of the magnetic field, so it is important for you to tell us if any of the following apply to you or someone accompanying you into the exam room:

  • Cardiac pacemaker or artificial heart valve
  • Metal plate, pin, or other metallic implant
  • Intrauterine device, such as Copper-7 IUD
  • Insulin pump or other infusion pump
  • Aneurysm clips
  • Previous gun wound
  • Inner ear implant
  • Permanent (tattoo) eyeliner
  • Hearing aid
  • Dentures
  • Ever had metal in eye

Any metallic substance on your person can affect the quality of the diagnostic images.  It can also cause discomfort or injury to you when placed in the magnetic field, and may exclude you from the exam.  Also, be sure to tell us if you are pregnant.

Will I Need an Injection?

In most cases, an MRI exam does not require any injections.  In some situations, however, a substance known as a contrast agent may be needed to enhance the ability of the MRI to see into your body.  All contrast agents are cleared by the FDA and are considered safe.

In addition to your 1.5T machine do you have an Open MRI?  What is an Open MRI?

Our open MRI has clear, unobstructed space on three sides, so you can see and talk to our staff during the exam.  This means a more pleasant experience for you.