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A large magnet surrounds your body and radio waves send images to a computer. The MRI machine “sees” right through bone to look closely at your soft tissue. MRI does not use any radiation to make your pictures. When thinking about how an MRI scan works, think of a loaf of bread and the many slices in it. An MRI takes a section of a body part, “slices” it and takes hundreds of pictures of the different slices. Depending on the type of test you are having and your person health history, you may be given an injection of contrast through a vein in your arm. The contrast helps us to look at certain structures in more detail on your pictures.


If you are having a MRI of your abdomen, you should refrain from eating or drinking for four hours prior to your appointment. MRI tests cannot be performed if you have a pacemaker or certain types of metal in your body.

Call our Diagnostic Imaging or scheduling department if you have any questions:

Important things to tell your technologist:

  • Symptoms you are having
  • Any previous exams of the area being tested
  • Any previous surgeries of the area being tested
  • If you are pregnant
  • Any allergies you may have
  • If you have a pacemaker
  • If you have aneurysm clips
  • If you have a history of working with metal or have had metal in your eye
  • If you have an implanted drug infusion device
  • If you are wearing any medicine patches
  • If you have any other metal in your body (plates, screws, pins, etc.)
  • If you become anxious in confined spaces or are claustrophobic

Some specific reasons this test may be used:

  • Brain disease (bleeding, swelling, aneurysms, stroke, tumor)
  • Spine (tumor, inflammation, disc disease, trauma)
  • Joints (tendons, cartilage, ligaments, bone marrow)
  • Cancer

Note: The imaging staff is trained to acquire images for a radiologist to review.
The radiologist is specially trained to look at x-ray studies and make a diagnosis
off of them. The imaging staff is not fully trained to do so, therefore we will not
be able to give you results at the time of your exam.

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