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Frequently Asked Questions

Our MRI department specializes in state-of-the-art imaging and quality patient care. Our MRI is a high-field GE 1.5 Tesla which provides diagnostically superior images, shorter scan time and the highest in patient comfort.

To schedule an exam or if you have any questions, please call 510.818.7380

Patient Information: MRI

What is a magnetic resonance imaging examination?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a technique that allows doctors to see inside the human body in great detail without using X-rays. MRI uses a powerful magnet, radio waves and a computer system. This scan will provide your doctor with important information of certain types of body tissue (internal organs, joints, brain and spine) differently than an X-ray or a computerized tomography (CT) scan.

How do I prepare for my MRI scan?

There is very little preparation required for an MRI scan. You can eat, drink, and take your medications prior to the scan. You are encouraged to use the bathroom prior to the scan. You will be asked to remove all metallic items from your person, such as watches, jewelry, hairpins, eyeglasses, and hearing aids. Do not take any credit or bank cards with you as the scanner will erase the information recorded on the magnetic strip. An area will be provided for safekeeping of valuables.

What can I expect during the MRI scan

The scan is performed by a radiological technologist under the supervision of a radiologist (a doctor who assists in your medical diagnosis by X-ray and scans). Upon arriving in the MRI department, you will be greeted by a receptionist and asked a series of questions. Once in the scan room, you will be asked to lie down on a padded table.

During the MRI scan, it is important to hold very still, as movement will cause blurring of the pictures. During the entire examination, you will be able to speak to the technologist by an intercom. Technologists will talk with you frequently during your scan, explaining the procedure each step of the way. When the scanner is operating, you will hear a loud thumping noise and may feel a slight vibration which is normal. While the machine is thumping, it is very important to hold still since this is the time the scanner takes its pictures.

Some MRI scans require the injection of a contrast agent. This contrast agent is safe and is unrelated to the iodine contrast agents used in many other X-ray procedures.

How long will the MRI scan take?

Every MRI scan is different, but, most scans take approximately 30 to 45 minutes.

What will happen following my MRI scan?

Once your scan is completed you may resume your normal activities and diet.

Important Considerations

You should not have an MRI scan if you are, or suspect you may be, pregnant. It is very important to inform the doctor or the nurse prior to the scan.

If you have any of the following metal implants or objects: aneurysm clips, artificial heart valve, bullets, cardiac pacemaker, eye/orbital prosthesis, hip or knee prosthesis, insulin pump implant, intracranial bypass graft clips, middle or inner ear prosthesis, shrapnel, sternal wire, sutures, tantalum mesh, transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation device. Your doctor will decide if you can be safely scanned.

If you have ever been a metal worker, it is important that you inform the doctor of this, as you may be required to have your eyes X-rayed before having the MRI scan.

This information will be asked on the day of the scan, and you will be asked to sign a form stating you are aware of the need to provide this information prior to the scan for your own safety.

How do I find out the results of my MRI scan?

Your MRI scan will be reviewed by a radiologist. The radiologist will send a report to your physician, who will give you the results of the scan.

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