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.
What to Expect: MRI is a safe, painless exam that does not expose you to radiation. 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.
Preparation: 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.
Click here to learn more about how to prepare for your MRI Exam.
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.
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.
Anxiety and Claustrophobia: If you are anxious or severely claustrophobic, please let us know. We want you to have a successful exam that will provide important diagnostic information to your referring provider. We care about your comfort and can help!
- Please ask to be scheduled on one of our three large-bore machines. The machines have a larger opening and a shorter length so depending on the body part being scanned, your head may be outside of the machine or you may go in feet first. If the body part is inside the machine during the exam you will have approximately 12” of clearance above your head.
- Tell the technologist that you are anxious. Our experienced technologists have many ways to make you feel more comfortable and will work with you to find the right ones for you.
- You may ask your referring provider to prescribe medication to relax you during your exam. If you will be taking medication, please bring it with you and let our registrar know that you have it. They will work with the technologist to make sure you take the medication at the correct time for maximum effectiveness during your exam. You must bring a driver with you if will be taking medication during your exam.
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.