Frequently Asked Questions

Why does the MRI exam take so long?

The time required for an MRI scan is becoming shorter as the equipment and technology becomes more advanced. The length of an exam ranges from 30 to 60 minutes. The time varies depending on the anatomy being scanned and the number and type of sequences the radiologist requires. One MRI exam consists of a series of MRI scans. Each scan ranges in length from a few seconds to a few minutes and can contain any number of images. Click here to learn more.

Is there any preparation needed?

No special preparation is usually needed for MRI examinations. You can take all of your medications and follow your usual eating schedules. If you are scheduled for an abdominal MRI, please do not eat or drink anything for four hours prior to your exam. Avoid wearing clothing with metal (zippers, brass buttons, etc.) to your appointment. You will be asked to leave any removable metallic devices outside the scanning room including hearing aids, dentures, wallets, keys, and prosthetic devices. We will provide a secure locker for you to store your valuables while you are having your exam. Click here to learn more.

You can also download patient registration forms to bring with you to your appointment. Please call our office if you have had previous diagnostic exams (X-ray, ultrasound, CT, etc.) that are relevant to your MRI exam. Our staff will obtain these prior to your appointment.

What do doctors learn from an MRI?

MRI images allow your doctor to get a clear look at your internal anatomy. A MRI scan may be the only way your doctor can get diagnostic information without surgery. The technology produces sharp computerized images of internal body tissues that can’t be viewed through x-rays.

What areas of the body can you scan?

Any part of the body can be scanned with the MRI equipment. The body part we are scanning must be in the center of the machine and near a piece of equipment called a coil. Doctors can request an MRI image for your brain, your knee, your spine, or just about any part of your body that needs evaluation.

What does an MRI picture look like?

An MRI image is either two dimensional or a three-dimensional representation of a part of your body. Your scans are displayed on a computer monitor and can be printed on film or recorded on discs. Click here to see some examples of MRI images.

What does the MRI equipment look like?

Our MRI unit is open and comfortable. Click here to view a photo of our equipment.

How safe is the MRI contrast agent?

Your MRI exam may require an injection with an MRI contrast agent. Usually the need for a contrast media is determined at the time of the examination by the radiologist. These agents are very safe. They are different from those used in x-ray and are often used when x-ray contrast agents pose a risk to the individual.

Will it hurt?

No. MRI is not painful. You will be in a magnetic field and will not feel anything. Many patients fall asleep during the exam. You will have an intercom to allow you to contact the technologist anytime during the exam.

What is an MRA?

MRA stands for magnetic resonance angiography. This is a special type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that looks at blood vessels and blood flow in virtually any part of the body with or without injection of contrast. MRA is a non-invasive procedure with little risk of complications compared to conventional angiography or other related procedures. As a result, the use of MRA exams are increasing as a tool for diagnosing disease and injury.

How do I get the results from my exam?

Your scan will be interpreted by a radiologist who is a physician trained in the interpretation of your MRI exam. The radiologist will discuss these results with your physician who will talk to you about any necessary treatment for your condition. Click here to meet our radiologists.

What if I’m claustrophobic?

Tell your doctor before the exam, so he or she can prescribe a medication that will help calm you during the exam. Bring this medication with you on the day of your appointment. If you are not relaxed during the exam, your movement can seriously compromise the quality of your MRI results. If you are given medication to take prior to the MRI, be sure you have a family member or friend drive you home, since you will be very drowsy.

Other questions?

Feel free to call us during office hours. We’ll be happy to assist you!