Frequently Asked MRI Questions

Why do I have to change my clothes and fill out so many forms prior to my MRI test?

The MRI scanner at Brookings Health System is a very strong magnet, which is 1.5 Tesla, magnetic field strength, (many thousands of times greater than the earth’s magnetic field or gravity). The MRI screening form will ask questions about metal implants or devices inside of your body that may not be safe in the MRI scanner. By changing into hospital gowns/clothing we can be certain of your safety in the MRI scanner.

If I brought medication for my MRI, when should I take it?

Please notify the receptionist upon arriving in the Radiology Department and they will instruct you as to when you should take your medication (usually 15-30 min. prior to your test).

What will my MRI test be like?

During your MRI test you will lay on an MRI table on your back.  The MRI technologist will advance you into the scanner. Once the scan begins, you will hear some loud knocking/buzzing type of sounds and you may feel some vibration. Your technologist will provide either music or earplugs to every patient depending on your test. This will help to minimize the loud noises of the MRI scanner.

How far will I be going into the MRI scanner?

Whichever part of your body is being scanned will need to be in the middle of the scanner.  For example if you are having your head scanned, your head will be in the middle of the scanner; if your foot is being scanned, your foot will be in the middle of the scanner.

Is the MRI scanner open on both ends?

Yes, the MRI scanner is open on both ends.

Can I talk to the MRI technologist during my test?

You will be given a squeeze ball to hold onto during the test.  If you need the technologist for any reason during your test, just squeeze the ball. The technologist will immediately stop the scan and speak to you through the MRI intercom system.

How long will my MRI test take?

The average scan lasts 20 – 45 minutes.  However, some MRI tests may take more than an hour; your technologist can let you know what to expect.

Will I need IV dye for my test?

In certain instances your doctor or the Radiologist (the doctor who reads your MRI test) may order your test to be completed with dye contrast. The dye, called Gadolinium, will “enhance” certain areas being imaged to help make a diagnosis and is considered to be very safe. You may experience a cool sensation while the contrast is being injected.  Your kidneys will remove the dye from your body within one or two days.

How do I get my test results?

After your MRI test is completed, the radiologist will read your test and provide the results to your doctor’s office.  Your doctor will let you know the results of your test.