Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, uses radio waves passed through a strong magnetic field to produce remarkably good images of the body's internal structures. It's especially effective for evaluating soft tissue areas such as muscles, nerves, brain and organs.

The body produces various frequencies of radio waves depending on the body part, and these frequencies are interpreted and mapped as digital images by an advanced computer. MRI is one of the most important advances in imaging technology in the last 25 years.

What to expect

An MRI exam usually takes a total of 30 to 60 minutes.

For the MRI exam, you'll lie on a table that slides into the magnetic field. The equipment takes multiple images from various angles, and each sequence can last for several minutes. The machine will make a lot of noise, including banging, buzzing and knocking. Earplugs can help reduce the noise, and for people for whom laying still may be problematic, options exist including medication and sedation. Discuss this possibility with your physician in advance if you feel it would be helpful.

You'll be able to communicate with the technologist performing the exam while it's taking place, but it's important to remain very still for the entire exam unless you're instructed to move.

Because you'll be lying in a large magnet, you may choose to wear loose clothing such as sweats that are entirely metal-free; or you will asked to change into a gown for the exam. This is important for everyone's safety, including yours.

Since no radiation is involved in an MRI exam, someone may accompany you into the exam area to offer support.

If any special preparation is required for your MRI exam, you will be notified in advance.

Please note: If you have children under 12 years old, please make other arrangements for childcare, as there are no childrecare facilities on site. Children under 12 may not be left unattended in the waiting areas. Due to the nature of the types of imaging exams performed and for safety purposes, children are not allowed in the examination rooms.