An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a medical test that is performed to help doctors diagnose a variety of medical conditions. MRIs are most commonly performed on the brain, breast, spine, heart, or legs, but they can be performed on any part of the body.
Instead of radiation, MRI uses a combination of radio waves and a magnetic field to create a detailed picture of a cross-section or slice of the body. The procedure is painless and has no side effects associated with it.
Your MRI exam can range from 20 minutes to over 1 hour.
Preparing For Your Exam
In addition to our general preparation instructions, you will be asked to change into a gown prior to your MRI.
Due to the powerful magnets that the MRI machine uses, it is important to remove the following items before entering the machine:
- Hearing aids
- Bras with underwire
- Medication patches (e.g., nicotine or pain patch)
- Clothing labeled as antimicrobial, antibacterial, or having “silver technology"
Generally, anything with metal should be removed or brought to the attention of a technologist before entering the MRI scan room.
Before your MRI, please discuss with your doctor if you have any of the following, as the magnetic field may cause interference:
- Artificial heart valves
- Metal clips
- Cochlear implants
- Metal prostheses
- Any other metal in the body
If you are having an MRI of the prostate, you are asked to have an enema the night before your exam. Please do not consume any food for four hours prior to your appointment.
If you are having an MRCP, please do not consume any food for four hours prior to your appointment.
Please continue to take all of your prescribed medications. Bring a list of your medications to your appointment that includes the name of the medication, the dose, and the dose frequency.
For additional information, please visit RadiologyInfo.org.
During Your Exam
Our state-of-the-art MRI machines are short, tube-like structures. You will lie down for the duration of the test, and you will be able to hear the voice of the technologist who is conducting the MRI from an attached room. You will be able to speak to the technologist via a microphone located within the MRI machine. You can expect to hear some loud knocking and buzzing during the scan, and we will provide you with earplugs or headphones.
MRI can be a lengthy exam ranging from 20 minutes to over 1 hour, depending on the scan your doctor ordered. Please do not bring children with you to your appointment.
Listen to the sound of an MRI machine.
After Your Exam
Once your MRI is complete, a radiologist will study the images and share the results with your doctor. Your doctor will then discuss the findings with you at your next appointment. You will not receive results at the time of the MRI.