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Important Questions to Ask Before You Get An MRI

Patient getting scanned

Your doctor has ordered an MRI, or a magnetic resonance imaging scan. You may be a bit apprehensive if you have never had this scan before. People who are claustrophobic could be concerned about being confined within a small space. Others may have heard about the MRI’s powerful magnet and wonder how that might affect their body and the surrounding environment.

Knowing exactly what an MRI is (and is not) and some important questions to ask before your exam can help put you at ease and assure the best experience possible.

What is MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an advanced technology that produces images of the body’s internal organs, bones, tissues and other structures. MRI generates clearer, higher-contrast images than most other imaging technologies—allowing for a more accurate diagnosis.

Unlike an X-ray, MRI does not use ionizing radiation, so it can be used safely on infants and pregnant women. Instead of radiation, MRI uses two natural forces—magnetism and radio frequency waves—to produce clear, detailed images. It can generate hundreds of images with a single scan.

5 Points to Keep in Mind:

  • Your MRI will be painless and last just 20-60 minutes.
  • You won’t be restrained. You simply lie on a table and remain still.
  • Music may be available to help you relax.
  • An intercom system keeps you in constant contact with the technologist
  • You will hear noise during the test. This is nothing to worry about; it’s just the sound of the scanner working.

What You Should Ask Your MRI provider

Are your facility and technologists accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists?

Before going in for your MRI, asking this question will assure the facility meets national guidelines for safety and training.

With this knowledge in hand, you can lie back and approach your MRI experience with confidence and added peace of mind.

author name

Dhiren Y. Patel, MD

Dhiren Y. Patel, MD, is a radiologist with Lancaster Radiology Associates which provides radiology services for Lancaster General Health.

Education: Medical School–Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University; Internship–Mercy Catholic Medical Center; Residency and Fellowship–Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.

Call: 717-544-4900

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.


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