Frequently Asked Questions

Is there anything I need to do to prepare for my exam such as fasting or avoiding exercise?

No. There are no restrictions prior to your exam…you can go about your day as you normally would prior to your exam.

How long will the actual MRI exam take?

Most exams take about 45-60 minutes from check-in to check out.  Contrast exams may be up to an additional 30 minutes.

I am really nervous about my MRI exam.  Is there anything I can do to feel better prepared?

First of all, we want you to know we understand EXACTLY how you feel. Many of our patients come to us after vowing to “never again” be put in to a traditional closed MRI tunnel/tube. The vast majority of patients who can’t or refuse to do a closed MRI can complete their MRI at our facility without any issues.

Some anxious patients may want to consider asking their referring doctor for a prescription of anti-anxiety, muscle relaxant and/or pain medication that can be taken prior to their exam to help them feel more relaxed. These patients will need to have a driver bring them to our office and drive them safely home.

With the exception of brain and neck MRI’s, we can also provide you with a headset so that you can listen to your favorite radio station, or you can bring in your own CD. You can also have a friend or family member come into the room with you for extra moral support…for most exams they can literally hold your hand to help you get through it.
Our staff will do everything they can to make you as comfortable and relaxed as possible…we believe you will be pleasantly surprised by the OPEN MRI difference!

Why does the MRI machine have to make so much noise?

The noise is due to the rising electrical current in the wires of the gradient magnets being opposed by the main magnetic field. The stronger the main field, the louder the gradient noise.  You will be given a set of specially designed headphones (except for brain and neck scans) and allowed to listen to a radio station of your choice during your exam or, we can provide you with earplugs.  Believe it or not, about 25% of our patients actually fall asleep during their exam despite the noise!

Will I be exposed to radiation during my exam?

No.  MRI does not use any type of radiation whatsoever. 

My exam requires a contrast injection.  What kind of dye do you use, where will I be injected and is it safe?

The contrast agent used is called gadolinium and is injected in to your arm. It is a clear, colorless fluid, which is injected into a vein in your arm and is excreted by the kidneys through your urine. Gadolinium makes certain tissues, abnormalities or disease processes more clearly visible. Gadolinium contrast medium is generally very safe. Allergic (anaphylactic) reactions to gadolinium contrast medium have occurred but are extremely rare. These severe reactions generally respond very well to emergency drug treatment. We have a physician or physician’s assistant onsite to administer life-saving measures in the event of a reaction. Please click on this link to view the medication guides regarding the contrast agent that will be used during your study. If you have any concerns about the use of gadolinium, please discuss these with your referring doctor.

How soon will I get my results?

Our radiologist will read your images and a report will be faxed to your referring physician within 1-2 business days. Certain unforeseen factors may delay your results.

What should I wear to the exam?

Depending on your exam, we may ask that you remove clothing that contains metal (such as pants with zipper/buttons, underwire bras, etc.) we will provide shirts and pants if needed and a locker for you to secure your valuables.  

Can I keep my jewelry, ear or body piercings in during my exam?

It depends.  All ferrous metals (ie stainless steel) must be removed prior to entering the MRI exam room.  If you are aren’t sure if your jewelry contains ferrous metals, you can use a magnet at home and test in on your own.  If the magnet tries to “grab” the jewelry then it can not enter the exam room. Gold and pure sterling silver are non-ferrous however, depending on large the jewelry is and how close it is to the part of the body we are scanning, we may ask you to remove it to avoid creating an artifact in the MRI pictures.  

What about my watch and cell phone?

Watches and cell phones are not allowed in the MRI exam room.  The MRI’s powerful magnet can adversely affect these items.