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General MRI FAQs

What is an MRI?

An MRI is a painless, noninvasive technology that produces images of your body’s internal organs, bones, tissues, and other structures.

MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging; these images are clearer and higher-contrast than those produced by most other technologies (such as x-ray) and just one scan can generate hundreds of images. This allows a radiologist to make a more accurate diagnosis, because an MRI can detect abnormalities that other technologies—such as ultrasound, x-ray, and CT scan—may not show.

Is an MRI test painful?

No, an MRI is not painful. You won’t feel anything. However, you will hear the sound of the machine working.

What does an MRI sound like?

Although gentle on your body, the MRI machine is loud. We will give you earplugs and headphones to help block out the noise. And you can listen to music from our collection if you choose.

The headphones also allow the technologist to communicate with you.

Does MRI use radiation?

No, MRI does not use radiation. MRI uses two natural forces—a magnetic field, and radiofrequency pulses—to produce clear, detailed images of your body.

How do I prepare for an MRI?

You may eat and drink as normal prior to your exam; most MRIs do not require you to fast. If your MRI test does (some abdominal exams do), we will let you know.

Take your regular medications as your physician has directed. This includes prescribed pain medication that you take regularly. We want you to be comfortable during your MRI.

Before your visit, let us know if you have a pacemaker, aneurysm clips, inner ear implants, metal fragments in your eyes, or a spinal cord stimulator.

Several days before your appointment, we will call you to confirm. We will also review your medical history, provide additional information about your MRI, and answer any questions you may have.

What should I bring on the day of my MRI? What should I wear?

We will provide you with scrub pants and a gown to wear during your MRI. We will also provide a locker for your clothes and other items, that only you can access.

Please bring: Your physician referral, insurance card(s), photo identification, billing information, and a list of current medications.

What happens on the day of my MRI?

Please plan to arrive at the MRI Group facility 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment. In some instances, we may ask you to arrive earlier. Free parking is available at all locations.

Sometimes we use a safe medical contrast dye (gadolinium) to highlight certain parts of the body, making them easier to see in your images. In most cases, we will inject it intravenously (IV). If you need it, we will let you know in advance.

During the exam, you will lie still on a table. We will give you headphones to block out the noise, and to listen to music if you choose. An intercom system inside the scanner keeps you in constant contact with the technologist, who will keep you updated on the progress of your exam.

After the MRI you may resume your normal activities—there are no side effects.

Do I need a referral to get an MRI?

Yes, because an MRI is not appropriate for every condition or injury. Only your doctor can determine if an MRI is the right diagnostic tool for you.

What if I am claustrophobic and don’t like small spaces?

We offer two solutions for those who experience anxiety in small spaces: the Open Wide-Bore MRI and the Open High-Field MRI provide a comfortable experience for patients who experience claustrophobia, have pain or mobility issues. They’re also an ideal solution for children.

The Open Wide-Bore MRI system allows us to conduct many scans with the patient’s head outside of the unit.

Your physician may prescribe medication to help with anxiety if you experience claustrophobia.

How long does an MRI exam take?

An MRI exam lasts about 20 to 60 minutes. Your technologist will be able to provide you with a more accurate estimate for your particular exam.

What is the cost of an MRI?

We constantly work to ensure our rates remain as low as possible, so that we can provide expert, compassionate care to patients who need an MRI.

We accept most insurance plans, including Medicare. We also have a self-pay option.

For a price estimate, and/or questions regarding insurance, please call us at 717-291-1016. Our business office is open from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.




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