What To Expect

Patients will lie or sit on an exam table, also called a "gantry". The technologist will ask patients to breathe normally and remain still throughout the exam. Patients will hear a faint knocking sound, which represents the change in magnetic field. Nothing about the procedure should make patients feel uncomfortable. In some cases, patients are given a "contrast agent" to enhance their MRI images. This agent is given intravenously. Should a patient's physician require a contrast-enhanced examination, there are no extra precautions for the patient. However, patients that are pregnant, breast feeding, or have a history of kidney disease should inform the technologist before he or she gives them any contrast agents. Patients should consult their doctors if they have any concerns.

During the exam, The Imaging Centers MRI technologist will observe the patient at all times. An intercom system is built into the imaging system so that patients can communicate with the technologist throughout the exam. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations can take thirty minutes or longer, depending on the scope of the study. Metal objects are dangerous in the examination room, due to the MRI scanner's metallic field.

The Imaging Centers asks that patients leave the following items in a safe place outside the MRI room:

  • Coins
  • Jewelry
  • Glasses
  • Credit Cards
  • Keys
  • Hair Pins
  • Dentures
  • Any other metal objects

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How long will my MRI take?

    In general MRI’s take between 30 minutes to 1 hour. Be sure to ask the staff upon scheduling your appointment how long your particular exam will take to ensure enough time in your schedule.

  2. How long can I expect to be in your office?

    The length of time you will spend in our office depends on the type of exam and how many exams your physician has ordered for you. You will be asked to arrive 20 minutes prior to your scan time to fill out paperwork.

  3. Why do I have to show up 15-20 minutes early if I was just there?

    Paper work must be done for every appointment for billing purposes.

  4. Will my head be out of the machine?

    The area of the body being scanned will be in the center of the MRI. For most procedures, with the exception of the head neck & shoulder areas, your head will remain outside the MRI. Since the Upright/Open MRI has two plates on each side of the patient and does not have the tube-like structure of the High Field MRI all procedures in the Upright/Open MRI do not encase the patients head.

  5. Can you provide medication if I’m claustrophobic?

    Any medication that you may need to help you through the exam must be provided to you by your referring physician.

  6. Will I need a driver after my MRI?

    You will only need a driver if you need a sedative to help you relax for the exam.

  7. How will my doctor get the report?

    After the report is signed off on by the radiologist, the report will automatically be faxed to the referring physician within 24-48 hours.

  8. Is there any preparation for my MRI?

    There is limited preparation for an MRI. You should leave all jewelry at home. Also, remove any metal from you hair, such as, bobby pins, hair clips, and any body piercings. Be sure to inform the staff if you have any metal devices implanted within your body.

  9. Can I bring CD’s or listen to music?

    Music is available for the High Field MRI. You may bring your favorite CD and we will play it for you. The Upright/Open MRI has a television which can be viewed during your exam.

  10. Can I bring a friend or family member?

    A friend or family member is welcome, but they must be screened for conditions that would prevent them from joining you in the MRI room. Please note that you must stay very still during your MRI and thus are not able to speak with the person accompanying you during the exam.

  11. Can I eat or drink before my MRI?

    On the day of your scan, you should be able to eat, drink and take medication as usual, unless advised otherwise. For some exams, you may be asked not to eat or drink for up to 4 hours before the scan. For instance, if you are scheduled for an MRI Abdomen, you must be NPO (nothing to eat or drink) 4 hours prior to your scheduled appointment time. If you need to take any medications and are required to eat with your medications, light toast, crackers, and clear liquids are recommended.