MRI Frequently Asked Questions
How long does an MRI take?
A typical procedure averages 15 to 30 minutes. Occasionally the exam may take longer depending on the type of information required by your physician.
Do I need to remove all metal items?
Yes, prior to entering the scan room you will be asked to leave items that are not compatible with the magnetic field in a safe place. Some of these items include:
- Credit cards
- Hearing aids
- Hair pins
- Other metal objects
What might I be asked to remove?
You may be asked to remove make-up and dentures, and requested to wear a hospital gown to avoid magnetic interference with belt buckles and zippers. Other items to consider are the presence of implants and similar items.
Do I need to check if I have had previous surgeries?
Yes, check with your physician or MRI Technologist if you have had any brain, ear, eye or other surgeries, or if you have any of the following:
- Neuro-stimulator (tens-unit)
- Metal implants
- Intrauterine device (IUD), etc.
- Aneurysm clips
- Surgical staples
- Implanted drug infusion device
- Foreign metal objects in the eye
- Shrapnel or bullet wounds
- Permanent eyeliner
Please inform the technologist of any implants, as some implants (such as cardiac implants) may pose a safety risk when exposed to strong magnetic fields.
How can I help the process?
You can help make the image quality of your MRI the best it can be by simply relaxing and remaining as still as possible.
Can I call the Technologist during the exam?
During your exam, an MRI Technologist will position you on a comfortably cushioned table. The Technologist will be with you and will be able to see you at all times. For your convenience, an intercom system is built into the scanner so you can make contact with your Technologist if the need arises. Depending upon the type of exam, you may be offered headphones to listen to music during your exam. In certain cases, a contrast agent may be administered to enhance the study.
Will I hear anything?
Once the exam has begun you will hear a series of knocking sounds. These sounds are completely normal and represent changes in the magnetic field. Remember, please try to remain as still as possible. When the exam is finished, the Technologist will assist you off the table and out of the scan room.
Do I eat normally & take existing medications?
For most MRI exams no special preparation is required prior to your MRI exam. Eat normally and perform your daily routines without interruption. Continue to take any medications prescribed by your physician unless otherwise directed. However, certain MRI exams may require some preparation (such as fasting) prior to your appointment time. If this is the case, you will be informed either by our scheduling department or by your referring physician what that prep consists of and what medication you can and cannot take. If you are pregnant, please notify your physician prior to having your MRI exam.
How will my physician get the results?
Once your MRI is completed, a Radiologist will study the exam by looking at the images on a computer using our Picture Archiving & Communication System (PACS). The Radiologist will issue a report and a copy of that report will be sent to your physician. Your doctor’s office will then contact you with the results. Films of the exam can also be produced and sent to your physician.