Having an MRI Scan
What is an MRI Scan?
A Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan is a non-invasive test that uses a magnetic field and radio wave energy to make pictures of organs and structures inside your body.
These detailed images help our physicians determine the presence of diseases or injuries that may not be easily seen using other imaging methods such as X-ray, ultrasound or computed tomography (CT scan).
View a video explaining a MRI Scan .
How long does the test take?
The test usually takes 45 to 60 minutes.
Where can I have the MRI scan done?
The test can be performed at the following locations:
- Miami Valley Hospital
- Miami Valley Hospital South
- An offsite location in Beavercreek, Centerville (SouthPoint) or Springboro
When should I arrive for the MRI Scan?
Plan to arrive 30 minutes prior to your scheduled exam. This gives the staff time to review your medical information including allergies, medications and the MRI checklist.
What are the risks of having a MRI Scan?
Some metal-containing devices in or on your body may not be compatible with an MRI scan. Notify the MRI center if you have/had any of the following:
- Aneurysm clip
- Brain, ear, heart or other surgeries
- Cochlear implants
- Implanted drug infusion device
- Intrauterine device (IUD)
- Medication skin patches
- Metal implants
- Metal objects in your eye
- Pacemaker, defibrillator or cardioverter
- Permanent eyeliner or tattoos
- Shrapnel, BB’s, or bullet wounds
- Surgical staples
- TENS unit
The MRI technologist will decide if these devices are compatible with the scan.
You should inform your doctor and the technologist if you are pregnant. The risk to a fetus is unknown.
Learn more about MRI .
What kind of contrast material is needed for the MRI Scan?
Contrast material may be used to highlight areas of your body that are being scanned. The contrast material goes into your body by an intravenous injection (IV). You may feel warm or flushed when it first enters through the vein. You may also have a metal taste in your mouth. This lasts only about a minute. Tell the technologist if you feel sick, strange or have trouble breathing.
How do I prepare for the test?
Preparation for the test depends on which part of your body is being scanned. Some general guidelines include:
- No eating and drinking four hours prior to the exam
- Taking your medications with a sip of water
- Bringing a list of your current medications, including any over the counter medications
Specific instructions for your test will be given to you when you schedule the exam.
What happens during an MRI Scan?
You may be asked to put on a hospital gown and remove anything that might block the pictures such as eyeglasses, jewelry or hairpins. The test should not cause any pain.
You will be on a table that moves in and out of a large, hollow tube. How far it moves in and out depends on the body part being scanned. The technologist will be outside the room and will talk to you through an intercom. You will hear a repetitive tapping or thumping sound. Earplugs or headphones will be given to you to wear during the exam. You must lie still during the scan so the pictures will be clear. Tell your doctor if you are claustrophobic (scared of closed in spaces). He may order a medication to help you relax for the scan.
What you can expect after the MRI Scan?
After the scan, you can return to your normal routine. If you were given contrast, the technologist may give you special instructions. You may be asked to wait for a short time to ensure you feel well. Drinking lots of water will help remove contrast from your body. If you were given a medication to relax for the exam, an adult must drive you home.
Your doctor should receive the results of your MRI Scan in two to three business days. If you would like a CD of your MRI for a referring doctor, inform your technologist.
What is an open MRI?
An open MRI is an alternative to a closed MRI. These scanners have a 17-inch height clearance and can accommodate patients up to 500 pounds. Claustrophobic patients may feel more comfortable in an open scanner because it is wide open on the sides. In many cases the patient can see out of the machine while they are being scanned.
What if I have questions before my test?
For questions about a MRI scan, call (937) 208-5044.
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