What should I expect during my MRI?

  • Your MRI scan will last 15-45 minutes depending on the body part we are scanning.
  • Due to the strong magnetic field of the machine, there will be a series of questions asked prior to your appointment over the phone and once you arrive. You will also be asked questions regarding your medical and surgical history before entering the scan room to ensure you have no metal and/or implanted devices in your body that could cause you harm or interfere with the scan quality. Once the MRI department has confirmed that it is safe for you to have the scan, you will be asked to change into a pair of scrubs and lock up all of your belongings in a locker. You will need to remove all metal from your body including jewelry, piercings, dentures, hair pins, wigs, and eyeglasses. Personal wheelchairs, walkers, and canes will not be allowed into the MRI scan room. You will also be asked to leave your cell phone, wallet, debit/credit card(s), eyeglasses or any other loose metal that may be in your pockets in the locker with your other belongings.
  • Our MRI magnet is open on both ends and is wider than most other MRI scanners. The body part that is being imaged will be positioned in the center of the magnet and you will be required to lie completely still during the actual MRI scan.
  • The technologist will need to leave the room to start the imaging sequences, but you will remain visible throughout the exam. There is also a two-way speaker system that allows the patient and technologist to communicate during the scan. The technologist will also provide you with a ball that you can squeeze in the event you experience any issues during the scan. This will alert the technologist and they will immediately enter the scan room.
  • Some MRI scans require you to hold your breath for up to 20-25 seconds. If breath-holding is necessary, the technologist will give you detailed instructions to prepare you before the scan starts.
  • Some MRI exams require an injection of intravenous (IV) contrast. This will be determined by your ordering physician depending on your diagnosis. (See how do I prepare for an MRI with IV contrast?)