What is MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is one of the most technologically advanced diagnostic tools available. MRI uses a powerful magnet, low intensity radio frequency pulses and computer technology to create images of the soft tissues, muscles, nerves and bones in your body.

There are no known side effects of MRI and it uses no radiation. In many instances it replaces the need for CT or X-rays, which do utilize radiation to produce images.

How does MRI work?

The main component of the MRI scanner is a large magnet. This magnet causes your body’s hydrogen atoms to align themselves in such a way as to receive radio signals from the magnetic resonance system.

When your body receives these signals, it reacts by sending its own radio signals back to the machine. It is this radio-frequency transmitted by your body that is computer-processed and turned into detailed images which are read by radiologists.

Is it safe to have an MRI?

For most patients, having an MRI exam is safe and painless. However, because the MRI uses a strong magnetic field, some patients may not be able to have an MRI.

Please check the following list carefully and inform your medical provider if you have or have had any of the following:

  • Pacemaker
  • Aneurysm clips
  • Inner ear (cochlear) implants
  • Implanted spinal cord stimulator
  • Metallic implants
  • Metal fragments in one or both eyes
  • Tattoos that may have metallic ink

What to expect on the day of your exam

Please plan to be in the imaging center for approximately one hour for your MRI.

The MRI technologist will walk you through a series of questions to ensure we have all the pertinent information needed prior to your exam.

The technologist will then ask you to remove any metal from your pockets and/or your person. We will give you a locker to secure all of your belongings during the exam.

If needed, we will also provide a gown for you to change into for your exam.

At our Radia outpatient imaging centers you will be provided scrubs to change into. At the Radia partner sites, you will follow the guidelines set by that site. This may be to change into scrubs or a gown, or you will be asked to wear appropriate comfortable, loose fitting clothing.

The technologist will make you comfortable on the table, provide you with ear plugs or headphones to listen to music, and will then begin the exam.

Most MRI exams last between 20 and 40 minutes. After your exam most patients are free to leave the imaging center immediately.

We will send a report of your MRI to your provider within 24 hours.