Do you have questions about the services that we offer? Below
is a list of some frequently asked questions, along with our answers.
Q: What is MRI and how does it work
A: MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. An MRI scanner
allows physicians to look inside the body without using surgery,
harmful dyes, or X-rays. The MRI scanner uses magnets, radio
waves and computers to produce very clear pictures, or images,
of the human anatomy. MRI images, depict soft tissue anatomy
far better than any other diagnostic imaging equipment. The
fundamental discovery upon which MRI is based was made by Raymond
V. Damadian, M.D. in 1971. Dr. Damadian built the world’s first
whole-body MRI scanner in 1977, and his company, FONAR Corporation,
introduced the world’s first commercial MRI scanner in 1980.
Q: Can anybody have an MRI scan?
A: No. For some people, an MRI can be dangerous, even fatal.
If you have a cardiac pacemaker, you should
not have an MRI. It can be fatal. There may be certain
parts in the pacemaker that may be adversely affected by the
magnetic field of the MRI scanner, causing the apparatus to
malfunction or cease operating.
Other Potential Dangers:
Aneurysm clips in the brain. Some
aneurysm clips are MRI safe; some aren't. You must check with
the surgeon who installed the clip to be sure the manufacturer
has tested it and found it to be MRI safe.
Other Potential Dangers:
Drug Infusion Devise/Pump
Hearing Aid (The MRI can damage it.)
Inferior Vena Cava filter
Metal Objects in Eyes
Surgical Staples or Wires
Bone or Joint Replacements
Metal Plates, Rods, Pins or Screws
Contraceptive Diaphragms or Coils
Vascular Coils and Filters
If any of the above applies to you, it MAY BE DANGEROUS
for you to have an MRI exam. Be sure to make the technologist
and staff at the MRI center aware, and also tell the doctor
who prescribed the exam. They will be able to tell you if it
is safe for you to have the MRI exam. In most cases you will
be able to have the scan, but please leave that decision to
Note: Anyone accompanying the patient to any
area near the MRI scanner is subject to the same dangers.
Q: Is there any danger in having an MRI
A: YES! For some people it can be very dangerous, even fatal.
to see if it is safe for you to have an MRI.
Q: What do I have to do to prepare myself
for an MRI?
A: The first step is to be certain that it is safe for you
to have an MRI scan. If you are not certain, click
Preparing for an MRI exam is easy. Unless your doctor tells
you otherwise, you may take your medications as usual. There
are no food or drink restrictions.
The only unusual preparation for an MRI scan is that all removable
metallic objects must be left outside the scanning room. These
include jewelry, keys, watches, coins, eyeglasses, removable
hearing aids, dentures and prosthetic devices.
Credit cards should not be brought anywhere near the MRI magnet.
Since they are magnetically coded, the MRI’s magnet, which is
very powerful, can easily corrupt the information stored on
Q: Should I avoid eating certain things before
A: There are no food or drink restrictions.
Q: Does it hurt? Will I feel anything?
A: You won’t feel a thing. Unlike many other MRI scanners,
ours are quiet, comfortable and non-claustrophobic.
Q: I’ve heard that some MRI scanners induce
claustrophobic reactions. Do yours?
A: Our scanners are all Open MRI’s. There are no tunnels, no
tubes. Ours are quiet, comfortable and non-claustrophobic.
Q: Will my insurance cover the cost of the
A: Most likely. We accept Workers’ Compensation cases, Medicare,
auto accident cases and many commercial insurance plans and
HMO’s. When you call to make your appointment, ask if your insurance
company will pay some or all of the cost.
Q: Do I need a doctor’s prescription for
A: Yes. Be sure to bring it with you when you come for your
Q: What should I bring with me when I come
for my MRI?
- The prescription from your doctor
- Your insurance card
- Your driver’s license
Q: What will the MRI staff want to know about
A: The receptionist and MRI technologist will ask you questions
about your medical history. They will check to see if it is
safe for you to have an MRI scan. If you are not sure if it
is safe for you, click
The receptionist will also ask you for certain insurance information,
so bring your insurance card with you.
Q: How should I dress? Will I have to wear
any special clothing?
A: When it comes to how to dress for an MRI exam, the main
thing to realize is that metal can degrade or ruin MRI pictures.
Therefore, you should wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing
(no dresses or skirts for modesty reasons), but keep in mind
that metal must be avoided in or near the region where you are
going to be scanned. Here are some examples:
If you are going to have a scan of the lower spine (lumbar
spine) or the abdomen area, don't wear clothing or under-clothing
that has metal on it in that area. For example, a body suit
that has snaps in the crotch, or pants with fasteners or a zipper
will cause a problem. Sweats with no eyelets would be fine.
Also, body-pierced jewelry in that region must be removed.
If you are having a scan in the head or neck area, remove all
makeup (some makeup has metallic particles in it) and all metallic
items such as hair clips, earrings, and facial jewelry, including
body-pierced items. Notify the technologist if you have any
facial tattoos, such as eyeliner or eyebrow tattoos.
If you are having a scan in the chest area, or upper torso,
avoid clothing and under-clothing with metal hooks or fasteners.
For example, a sweatshirt with metallic decorations or body-pierced
jewelry in that region will cause a problem
Don't worry. If you don't have suitable clothing, we will give
you a gown.
Q: What will happen?
A: Depending on the type of MRI scanner and the type of scan
your doctor ordered, the MRI technologist may wrap a special
belt (actually an antenna) around the region of your body that
is to be scanned. If you are having a head scan, your head will
rest in a special fixture. Once you are comfortably positioned,
the technologist will start the scan.
At that point, all you have to do is be as still as you can
until the MRI exam is over – the stiller the better. The reason
you have to lie still is that movement blurs the MRI images.
Depending on what your doctor ordered and the area being scanned,
the procedure will take between 15 and 45 minutes. The MRI technologist
will be able to tell you how long it should take. You won't
feel anything, but you will hear some low-volume, intermittent,
rumbling noises throughout the scan. These sounds are normal.
Our scanners are very quiet in comparison to "tunnel" MRI scanners
whose sounds are sometimes described as firing machine guns
or rattling garbage cans.
A microphone will be placed near you so you will be able to
speak to the staff at any time during the exam. If you like,
someone can be with you in the scanner room, provided it's safe
for the person to be there. (A visitor is subject to the scanner's
magnetic field too. So please make sure it is safe for the visitor
to be in the scanner room. Click
here for a discussion on MRI safety.) It is common
for a parent to stay with a child. In fact, we encourage it.
Q: Do I have to lie very still?
A: Yes - as still as you can. The more still you are during
the scan, the better the MRI image will come out. Moving causes
blurring in the picture. If you move too much, the pictures
will be too blurry for the radiologist to see what he needs
to see, and you will have to reschedule for another MRI exam.
Q: How long will it take?
A: That depends on what part of the body is to be scanned and
whether or not your doctor has ordered any special or extra
scans. Normally, the entire exam takes between 15 and 45 minutes.
Q: Will I be able to drive after I have the
A: Yes. The MRI has no known physiological side effects. However,
if you have taken a sedative, there may be some restrictions.
Q: Will I be getting an injection?
A: Not likely. In certain situations, it may be necessary to
inject a patient with a contrast agent in order for the proper
diagnosis to be made. Your referring doctor will make that decision.
In our experience, approximately 5 to 10 percent of patients
require a contrast agent. For example, MRI exams of regions
containing scar tissue from a previous surgical procedure are
often best evaluated with the aid of a contrast agent.
The contrast agent is injected intravenously into the arm.
The procedure is performed by a qualified healthcare professional.
There are potential side effects. If you require the contrast
agent, you will be made fully aware of possible side effects
prior to the injection.
Q: Is it OK to have an MRI if I’m pregnant?
A: If you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant, you
must first consult with the physician before you have an MRI
scan. You must also inform the staff at the MRI scanning center.
It has not been shown that MRI is harmful to unborn children.
However, if you choose to have the MRI, you will be asked to
sign a consent form, which must also be signed by your OBGYN.
Q: Can someone else stay with me in the MRI
A: Yes. Since our MRI scanners are open, there is ample space
for someone to accompany you into the scanner room, even hold
your hand during the scan. Warning: The person accompanying
the patient will be exposed to the scanner's magnetic field
just as the patient is, so please make sure it is safe for the
visitor to be there. Click
here for more information.
Q: When will I find out the results?
A: You won't find out at the time of the scan. The results
or your MRI examination will be faxed and/or mailed directly
to your doctor, normally within 24 hours. In turn, your doctor
will explain them to you. Technologists are not qualified to
interpret MRI examinations, nor are they allowed to, so please
don't ask them for their opinions.