Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

What is an MRI?

MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging uses magnetic signals, rather than X-rays, to create image "slices" of the human body. An MRI creates images based on differences between types of tissues, and is often used to study nerves, muscles, ligaments, bones and other tissues in the body which cannot be viewed as well with conventional X-rays or CT scans.

The exam is performed by highly trained Technologists and is examined by a board certified Radiologist specially trained in reading MRIs who provides a written report of findings to your physician.

What to Expect

If you are scheduled for an MRI, arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment and report to the Outpatient Registration Desk at Entrance 2 of the hospital. If you are not scheduled, if you have questions or are unable to keep your scheduled appointment, call Scheduling at (985) 730-6804. You will need a doctor's order to schedule an appointment.

Before your exam you will have to remove any metallic objects such as body piercings, hairpins, glasses, jewelry and non-permanent dentures, etc. It is better to leave jewelry at home, if possible.

The MRI scanner is shaped like a tunnel. You will lie on a table which will slide into the center containing the magnet. The part of the body being imaged will be in the middle of the scanner. During the exam, you will not feel anything, but you will hear jackhammer-like noises as the magnet and radio waves send signals to a computer. During the exam, you must remain completely still. For certain studies, you may be injected with a contrast medium which makes the part of the body being studied clearer.

Most MRI scans take between 30 and 45 minutes to complete, but some studies may last up to two hours. After the study is complete, the images will be reviewed for quality and, provided they are acceptable, you will be discharged.