Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

MRI is a painless imaging technique that uses a strong, cylindrical-shaped magnet, radio waves, and a computer to create images of the inside of a person's body. The strong magnetic field provides an environment in which harmless radio waves sent from the MRI machine to the patient's body cause the protons in the patient's body to a emit a radio frequency response back to the machine.

This response is captured and interpreted by a computer to create an anatomical image. Unlike x-ray and computed tomography (CT), the patient is not exposed to ionizing radiation. MRI is particularly useful for capturing very detailed images of internal organs and tissues, blood vessels and bone structure.

How to Prepare for your Visit


While MRI is a very safe procedure, the strong magnetic field surrounding an MRI scanner can interfere with certain objects and vice versa. Therefore, many metal and electronic items (jewelry, dental work and credit cards, among other items) are not allowed in the MRI exam room. Certain medical devices in or on your body may also not be compatible with MRI. Please notify the technician of any medical devices implanted in your body or on your body.


After you are dressed for your exam, you will be escorted into the MRI exam room and asked to lie on the moveable exam table of the cylindrical MRI unit. The MRI technician may use bolsters or positioners to align your body for the best possible scan. The exam table will then slide you into the center of the donut-shaped machine. Once inside, you will be able to speak with and hear instructions from the MRI technician via intercom. You will also hear occasional humming and thumping sounds, signaling that the machine is taking a scan. Earplugs are offered, when possible, to minimize the sound. Some patients may feel uncomfortable in small spaces (claustrophobia). In such cases, a sedative medication may be prescribed prior to the test to make you feel more relaxed. MRI scans vary greatly in duration, depending on what is being tested. The typical range is 15 to 45 minutes inside the scanner. Some MRI exams require the use of a contrast agent in order to achieve a clearer image. In such cases, a physician will always be on site to oversee the procedure. The patient will receive an intravenous (IV) line and will receive a contrast agent through the IV during the MRI scan.

For your safety, and to expedite your visit, please print and complete the appropriate patient forms prior to your visit.

  • Please notify the technician of any medical devices implanted in/on your body