What is an MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive medical test that physicians use to diagnose and treat medical conditions.

MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and virtually all other internal body structures. MRI does not use ionizing radiation (x-rays).

The pictures produced from an MRI scan are extremely useful in diagnosing and treating a broad range of conditions, such as:

  • Tumors
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Spinal cord or nerve injuries
  • Bleeding in the brain
  • Disorders of the eye and inner ear

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Preparing For Your MRI

Wear comfortable clothing with no metal. Jewelry and other accessories should be left at home if possible, or removed prior to the MRI scan. Because they can interfere with the magnetic field of the MRI machine, metal and electronic items are not allowed in the exam room.

These items include:

  • jewelry, watches, credit cards and hearing aids, all of which can be damaged
  • pins, hairpins, metal zippers and similar metallic items, which can distort MRI images
  • removable dental work
  • pens, pocket knives and eyeglasses
  • body piercings

Please fill out this questionnaire and bring it to your appointment

What to Expect During your MRI

Before the MRI begins, the technologist will review your history with you to ensure your safety. A certified technologist specially trained to perform MRI scans will perform your exam.

  1. MRIs are painless and noninvasive.
  2. You may wear comfortable clothes, such as a sweat suit. For some exams, you may be asked to change into a gown.
  3. In certain cases, a substance called contrast may be needed to achieve the desired imaging results. If you are to receive contrast, you may be required to have a lab test to assess your kidney function.
  4. You will be asked to lie on the table that slides into a tube-shaped machine. The tube is open on both ends and there are no doors that close you in at any time.
  5. You will be asked to lie still for about 20 - 45 minutes as images are being taken. During the procedure, the scanner will make a loud, knocking noise. We have earplugs you can use or you may listen to music.

After your MRI procedure

The interpreting radiologist will send the results to your ordering physician. Your physician will contact you with the results.

Learn more about the full range of diagnostic imaging services offered at Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center.