Testing Procedures

An MRI examination poses no risk to the average patient, if appropriate safety guidelines are followed. Patients who have the following conditions can be safely examined with an MRI:

  • Surgical clips or sutures
  • Post-cardiac surgical patients
  • Artificial joints
  • Staples
  • Cardiac valve replacements (except the Starr-Edwards metallic ball/cage)
  • Disconnected medication pumps
  • Vena cava filters
  • Brain shunt tubes for hydrocephalus

Before the Test

Personal items such as your watch, wallet, including any credit cards with magnetic strips (they will be erased by the magnet), and jewelry should be left at home if possible, or removed prior to the MRI scan. Secured lockers are available to store personal possessions. Allow 2 hours for your MRI exam. In most cases, the procedure takes 40 to 80 minutes, during which several dozen images may be obtained.

During the Test

You will be asked to wear a hospital gown during the MRI scan. As the MRI scan begins, you will hear the equipment making a muffled thumping sound which will last for several minutes. Other than the sound, you should experience no unusual sensations during the scan.

*For certain exams, an injection of a contrast material (OMNISCAN) may be administered. This helps identify certain anatomic structures on the scan images. (*Asymptomatic, transitory changes in serum iron and calcium have been observed in patients who have received OMNISCAN. The clinical significance is unknown. OMNISCAN interferes with serum calcium measurements with some methods commonly used in hospitals, resulting in serum calcium concentrations lower than true values. It is recommended not to use such methods for 12-24 hours after administration of OMNISCAN.)

If you must have laboratory testing 24-48 hours after your MRI, please notify your physician that you have received MRI contrast. Please feel free to bring up any questions or concerns to the technologist or the physician.

After the Test

Generally, you will be able to resume normal activity immediately after the procedure. The results of the MRI should be available to your physician 5 days after your test is completed, Monday through Friday. Please remember, we are happy to discuss your questions and concerns. Please feel free to ask.