Frequently Asked Questions
How long does a MRI scan take?
The length of the exam depends on the type of study being performed.
- MRI of the Brain … 20-45 minute scan time.
- MRI of the Orbits … 20-35 minute scan time.
- MRI of the TMJ … 45-60 minute scan time.
- MRI of the Soft Tissue Neck … 25-35 minute scan time.
- MRI of the Cervical Spine … 20-35 minute scan time.
- MRI of the Upper Extremity … 20-45 minute scan time.
- MRI of the Thoracic Spine … 25-45 minute scan time.
- MRI of the Chest … 25-45 minute scan time.
- MRI of the Abdomen … 25-45 minute scan time.
- MRI MRCP … 50-60 minute scan time.
- MRI of the Lumbar Spine … 20-35 minute scan time.
- MRI of the Pelvis … 20-35 minute scan time.
- MRI of the Lower Extremity … 20-35 minute scan time.
- MRI Run Off … 50-60 minute scan time.
- MRI Arthrogram … 30-60 minute scan time.
Will I need a driver?
Some procedures require a driver for your safety (i.e., if sedation is administered for claustrophobia). If you are claustrophobic, inform the scheduler when the appointment is made.
Will my head be in or out of the scanner?
The area of the body being scanned will be in the center of the scanner. For most procedures--with the exception of the head, neck, or shoulder areas--your head will remain outside the scanner.
Is there any risk to having an MRI?
MRI is very safe. There are no health risks associated with the magnetic field or the radio waves used by the machine, nor have any side effects been reported. Patients with a pacemaker or certain types of aneurysm clips should not have an MRI.
I am scheduled for an MRI Shoulder Arthrogram. Is the procedure painful?
During the injection of the gadolinium, you may feel some slight pressure or discomfort as the joint is distended. The sensation is temporary and will pass within 4-6 hours after the procedure. Some soreness may also be present at the injection site for up to 24 hours.
How soon after my shoulder injection may I resume normal activities?
You may resume regular activities immediately after the procedure. The radiologist will recommend, however, that you limit strenuous or "stress-bearing" activities on the affected joint for 24 hours following the procedure.
How is an MRI different from a CT?
MRI does not use ionizing (x-ray) radiation. Instead, MR creates high-quality images through the combination of a strong magnetic field and radio waves. MRI can detect certain diseases much earlier than other medical imaging techniques can, making it the diagnostic tool of choice for many physicians.
What body parts can the MRI scanner evaluate?
Physicians use the MRI scanner to examine one part of the body at a time. The scanner can take pictures of the head, neck, back, abdomen, pelvis, shoulder, elbow, knee, ankle, foot, blood vessels, and more.
Why is it so important to remove ALL metallic objects before I enter the MRI scanning room?
You'll need to remove all metal objects for safety reasons and because they cause artifacts to appear on the MRI image.
Will there be a problem if I have had surgery in which metal has been implanted?
As a general rule, no. However, please be sure to inform your technologist of any prior surgeries before your exam. Patients with the following should NOT have an MRI:
- Certain aneurysm clips
- Certain neurostimulators
- Certain implants that are not MRI safe.
If I have a metal implant in my body, how will I know if it is MRI safe?
All implants that are placed by a Surgeon have a manufacture name and model number. Some surgeons give their patients a card with the manufacture name and model number. The facility where the implant was placed should have record of what was implanted.
What does the MRI scanner look like?
The MRI scanner is wide open on both ends, and well-lit and -ventilated throughout. It also has a call button and two-way intercom system so that you can communicate with the technologist at all times.
May I have an MRI exam when I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
While an MRI scan has no known side effects, it is not recommended for pregnant women unless it is medically indicated. If you are breastfeeding and have contrast as part of your exam, please suspend nursing for 24 hours after the exam.
Why is the scanner so noisy?
The scanner works with strong magnetic fields. Inside of MRI machine there are parts called gradients. During a scan the gradients turn on & off so fast that they create a sound.