Why does the machine make such a loud noise during the exam?

The sound is that of the electromagnetic coil switching on as it produces magnetic waves that create the MRI image.  When the MRI is making an image, the current is switched on and off rapidly. The result is a rapid-fire noise, which is amplified by the enclosed space in which the patient lies.

How long will the exam take?

The time depends on the type of MRI exam that you are having. Some of the lower extremity exams last about an hour, but the majority of exams usually take about 30 minutes. If you have any questions about how long your exam will take please ask one of our schedulers or technicians.

When will my doctor get the results?

If your exam is ordered as a stat, your doctor should get the results within 2 hours after your exam is complete. If the exam is routine your doctor should get the results within 24-48 hours.

What does the open-bore MRI look like?

The open-bore MRI looks like a slightly larger version of a CT (see CT section) but it is open on both ends and the table length is shorter.

Does ARA offer open MRI?

No, these are typically lower field magnets used for extremity imaging (hands and feet). ARA only uses high field 1.5T and higher to provide the best quality imaging.

Do I need to hold still?

Yes, the machine is very motion sensitive so any movement may impair the images.

Is there radiation?

No, the MRI uses a magnetic and radio waves and not radiation.

Can I breastfeed my child after receiving an intravenous contrast agent for my exam?

The American College of Radiology has provided information to help nursing mothers to decide whether to breastfeed after receiving a contrast agent for an MRI or CT. Please review Contrast Agents and Breast Feeding – Recommendations for details.

Why do I have to undress and put on a gown? I am not wearing any metal.

The magnet on the MRI is very strong. For your safety, it is ARA’s policy that all patients undress and put on a gown to make sure we do not get any artifacts from threads or hidden metal in your clothing. We want to also make sure nothing obscures the images.

Why do I need an injection?

Some studies require an injection of contrast material to highlight certain areas of concern.

Why didn’t the doctor tell me I was getting an IV for contrast?

Some exams are done without IV contrast and some exams are not. It is up to the discretion of the radiologist whether or not the exam is to be performed with an IV.

Will I have an allergic reaction?

Patients normally do not have a reaction since iodine is not used.

Why do I need contrast?

Contrast helps the radiologist get a good image by highlighting certain types of tissue. It can rule out other tissue processes or pathology.

What kind of contrast material is used for MRI?

The contrast used for MRI is called gadolinium. ARA continues to closely monitor the research regarding possible permanent free gadolinium deposition in brain and other tissues. Currently, research appears to be preliminary and, in some cases, conflicting. Most importantly, to date no research provides evidence that gadolinium deposition has harmful effects. Nonetheless, ARA has always and will continue to carefully scrutinize orders that include use of gadolinium-based contrast agents to ensure that there is clinical benefit to the use of such agents.

Can I be sedated?

Yes. We have onsite paramedics and/or nurses that are able to administer sedation.

Am I going into a tunnel?

MRI are constructed with short tunnels that are open on both ends.  There are several types of MRI scanners, each with different tunnel lengths and widths.

Will my head be in the scanner?

It depends on the exam ordered. If your physician has ordered an MRI of your brain then your head needs to be in the center of the machine to get accurate images.

Why is it so cold in the room?

The cool temperature helps maintain the working environment for the magnet.

Do I have to have that coil on my head? knee? etc?

Yes, the coil is a part of the antennae system that images the anatomy.

Can the technician or staff tell me what they saw?

No, we are unable to discuss the results. The technician/staff does not read the actual images; the reading comes from the radiologist.

Will I be alone?

The tech will be right outside the room watching through the glass. We will be able to speak to each other. You are provided with a call button that you can press in an emergency.

How are we able to scan so late in the evening?

It is a safe imaging modality that does not require the presence of a radiologist. We have a nurse or paramedic on site that provides care if needed.

Are there devices or metal objects that cannot be brought into an MRI scanner?

Yes, there are several devices and articles that cannot be brought near the scanner for your protection.

Does an MRI affect medical operations and appliances?

Because of the potential harmful effects associated with all metallic objects in a magnetic field, you should check with your physician or MRI technologist if you have had any brain, ear or eye implants, or if you have any metal in your body.

Does MRI affect pregnancy?

If you are pregnant you should consult our physician before having an MRI performed.

What if I am unable to go through with my study because I am claustrophobic or in too much pain?

ARA can provide services to enable you or your child to get through the exam safely and comfortably. These services are detailed in sedation and pain management. We also provide open MRI services if you cannot tolerate a conventional MRI.