Magnetic resonance imaging, also known as MRI, uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field instead of X-rays to provide clear, detailed pictures of internal organs and tissues. MRIs are especially helpful in providing images of the brain, muscles, heart and cancers in the body as they are good at showing contrast between soft tissues. The MRI scanner is a tube surrounded by a giant circular magnet. The patient lies on a bed that goes into the magnet, and the magnet and radio waves send information into a computer. The computer processes the information and then produces an image.
The test is painless; however, patients who are claustrophobic may find it somewhat uncomfortable. Due to the incredibly strong magnetic field generated by an MRI, patients are screened prior to going into the magnet.
Patients with heart pacemakers, metal implants, or metal chips or clips in or around the eyes cannot be scanned with MRI because of the effect of the magnet. However, the MRI staff will research and counsel you on the safety of your implant. Your safety is our upmost concern. Please be aware, that a claustrophobic sensation can occur with MRI scanning.
An MRI scan is a relatively comfortable exam. The MRI technologist will ask you to change into patient attire. This attire is metal free. You then be asked to lie down on the MRI exam table. You will be offered headphones or earplugs for your comfort. You can even listen to music if you would like, which we recommend as the machine is a bit loud. Just ask your MRI technologist. Please lay as still as possible. Any movement will distort the imaging and the exam may be cancelled.
Many insurance companies require a prior authorization before the exam can be scheduled and performed.
Once we receive prior authorization, we will call you to schedule.
You will also need an appointment to review the results of your MRI with your provider.
On average, an MRI exam takes 20 to 60 minutes depending on what your physician has ordered. Please make arrangements for childcare as we do not provide this service. It is also our policy that family members and/or friends must wait in our lobby during the duration of your exam.