What to Expect When You Have an MRI Test

What is MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)?

MRI enables your physician to view the body and obtain precise diagnostic information without the use of radiation. MRI utilizes a strong magnetic field and radio frequency waves to construct a computer image. Some MRI procedures require contrast media, which is given intravenously. This contrast can improve the visibility of internal body structures and provide the physician with additional information.

What to expect when you have your MRI test:

The MRI machine makes a variety of loud noises; you will be given ear protection to wear during your test. A sound system with headphones is available for most procedures. A playlist of music is available upon request.

The MRI test does not hurt; some patients may feel a warm sensation over the area being scanned. This is normal, but you should still tell the technologist. You have to remain very still during your MRI to obtain clear and accurate pictures. The slightest movement may blur the images.

During your MRI, an intercom allows you to communicate with the technologist.

How long is the MRI test?

30-45 minutes, depending on the type of exam ordered.

Preparing for your MRI:

You can eat and drink prior to your MRI.

Arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled test to complete any paperwork as well as change your clothing if necessary.

Wear loose fitting clothes, without zippers, snaps or metal objects.

Complete the prescreening questionnaires and answer all the safety questions.

Remove all metal.

Remove any hair pins.

Remove any hearing aides.

Remove Dentures.

A locker will be provided for your belongings.

Take your medication if you need to be pre-medicated and bring your driver.

MRI safety:

Every patient must be prescreened before entering the MRI room.

All metal must be removed before entering the MRI room:

Belts, jewelry, watches, metal zippers, credit cards, hearing aides, eye glasses, skin patches, keys, hair pins, dentures, and cell phones.

Body Implants, and Tattoos?

Please tell the technologist prior to your MRI.

Do you have a pacemaker, Implantable cardioverter defibrillator, or Cochlear Ear Implant?

If so, you cannot have an MRI test.

Are you claustrophobic, in extreme pain or suffering from anxiety?

Talk to your physician about being pre-medicated for your MRI. If you need to be pre-medicated you will need a driver to take you home.


Tell your physician and notify the technologist prior to your MRI test. There are other imaging methods that can be used if you are pregnant.

Other Medical Conditions may prevent you from having an MRI:

Metal fragments in one or both eyes (may require a CT scan before scheduling your MRI).

Metal fragments or prosthesis within the body


Certain types of aneurysm clips and stents

Other types of metal or magnetic activated implants

MRI test with contrast media:

The contrast is given intravenously and sometimes requires a lab test (creatinine) prior to the contrast being given. Some patients, including all diabetics, require this lab test prior to an MRI with contrast.


MRI tests are covered under many insurance policies. We do not have information on whether your specific insurance policy covers your MRI test. We suggest you check with your insurance company before scheduling the appointment. Insurance companies require pre-authorization for MRI tests and it may take several weeks for approval.

How do I get my MRI results?

A follow up appointment with your physician will be scheduled.