What to Expect

MRI is a safe, painless exam that does not expose you to radiation.  The MRI machine contains a very powerful magnet so we must ensure that no metal objects get near the machine. 

Screening Questions:  To ensure your safety, you will be asked screening questions at the time of scheduling and again during your personal appointment reminder call.  

You will also be asked to complete a screening sheet at the time of registration or complete the form and bring it with you to your appointment.

Anxiety and Claustrophobia:  Please let us know if you have anxiety or claustrophobia  so that we can assist you to have a successful MRI. 

Please ask to be scheduled in one of our three large-bore machines.   Tell the technologist that you are anxious.  You may ask your referring provider to prescribe medication to relax you during your exam. 

Before the Test:  To prevent any damage from metal on clothing, you will be asked to change into a gown and scrub pants for the exam.  A locker is provided to store your belongings until your exam is completed. 

Learn how to prepare for an MRI.

During the Test 

You will lie on a table that moves inside a machine that contains a powerful magnet.  The machine makes loud thumping noises as it produces the images that the Radiologist will review.  You will be given hearing protection to reduce the noise during your exam.

Length of exam (time in the machine):  The average MRI exam on one body part lasts 30-45 minutes.  Scans of more than one body part take longer.  Your technologists can tell you how long you can expect to be in the machine.

Our technologists are concerned for your comfort. 

  • We will provide pillows and a warm blanket during your exam.
  • Ask about your music preferences and provide headphones so you can listen to music during your exam.
  • Place a call button in your hand so you can squeeze it if you need immediate attention during the exam.
  • Speak to you throughout the exam via intercom.

Extra Considerations

Extra consideration must be given if you have any of the conditions listed below.  We will work with you to make sure that you are scheduled appropriately.

  • Medical Devices:  Patients who have implanted medical devices such as cochlear implants, penile implants, aneurysm clips, artificial heart valves or stints, insulin pumps and defibrillators may not be able to be scheduled for an MRI.  A proper investigation of the implant will need to be performed by the MRI staff prior to scheduling the patient's appointment.
  • History of Eye or Face Injury:  Patients who have ever had an injury to their eye or face with metal or metal shavings, or have ever been shot with a gun.
  • Pacemakers:  Because we use a strong magnet in the MRI, we must carefully screen patients who have pacemakers.  If you have a pacemaker and have been scheduled to have an MRI exam, please contact us immediately.
  • Allergy to Contrast or Dye:  If you have a known allergy to a contrast dye agent, please contact us right away.  Patients with a known contrast allergy can have their exams performed at the UVA Medical Center.

Appointments Available 

Scheduling and Results

Scheduling an Appointment

A scheduling specialist would be a happy to help you.  Please call us at (434) 243-0321 to schedule your exam.

All exams require a Physician's order.  Prior to scheduling your appointment, we will confirm that we have received the order.

Your Results

The doctor who ordered your exam will contact you once they have received and reviewed your results.

They may have a specific day dedicated to calling patients, so it may be several days before their office contacts you.  If there is a critical finding on your study, our radiology doctor will contact your doctor as soon as possible to let them know.