Your doctor may order a MRI to help diagnose your condition or injury and in some cases, to monitor the progress of your recovery.  MRI enables your physician to view the inside of your body without the use of X-rays or invasive procedures.  MRI utilizes a strong magnetic field and radio frequency waves to construct computer images which can then be reviewed by a radiologist.

An MRI scan does not hurt.  Here’s what you can expect before, during and after your scan.

Before Your MRI Scan

MRI technologists, Tuckahoe Orthopaedics, Carl Montalbano, Tara Bragg
MRI Technologists,  Carl Montalbano and Tara Bragg

Safety precautions:  If you are pregnant or think you could be pregnant, you may be advised not to have a MRI scan.  Because a MRI scanner uses a strong magnetic field, it can be harmful to people who have metal inside their body.  It is important to tell your doctor and the MRI staff about any metal implants or metal fragments you have in your body.  Examples of metal include:   stents, cardiac pacemaker, heart valve replacements, insulin pumps, neurostimulators, metal fragments in the eye, shrapnel, cerebral aneurysm clips, and cochlear implants.  Patients with certain other implants and fragments may not be able to have a MRI.

Insurance:  You will need to work with your physician’s staff and your insurance company to verify coverage.  If your insurance denies coverage, you have the option of canceling your MRI.  If you do, it is important to talk with your physician.  If you decide to go ahead with the scan, you will be responsible for the entire charge.

Payment:  You will be expected to pay for any deductible, co-payment or co-insurance when you arrive at your appointment.  If your insurance denies coverage, you will be responsible for the entire charge.  You will receive a separate bill from the radiologist who interprets your MRI.

Physician (signed) order:  Tuckahoe patients will have their order sent directly to our MRI Department.  If your ordering physician is not a Tuckahoe physician, please bring a signed order from your physician or ensure your physician has faxed the signed order.

Cancellation:  If you need to cancel your appointment, kindly provide 24 hours notice.

Medication:  You can take all of your regular medications prior to your MRI.

Diet:  You can eat and drink as usual prior to your MRI.

Clothing:  It is important to dress properly for your MRI.  Since the MRI uses a magnetic field to make images, anything metallic on your clothes or on your person might degrade the images and require a repeat exam.  Wear loose-fitting clothes without zippers or snaps or metal objects.  Sports bras are recommended as they contain no metal.

During Your MRI Scan

Arrival:  Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your scan in order to provide patient and insurance information.

Forms:  You will be asked to sign a consent form that states you understand the benefits and risks of MRI and agree to have the test done.  You must also complete a MRI Screening Form.  To speed up your check-in process print the form, complete it and bring it with you to your scan appointment.

We will provide a storage locker:  No metal objects are permitted inside the MRI scanning room.  You are entering a large magnetic field that cannot be turned off and projectile objects pose a safety hazard.  Please leave all personal items in the dressing room locker:  hearing aids, jewelry, hairpins, body piercing jewelry, keys, eyeglasses, watches, cell phones, pagers, wallets with credit cards.

Clothing:  For your safety, many scans will require that you change into lightweight pants and shirt (clinic attire) that we will provide.

Duration:  The scan should take approximately 30 – 60 minutes.  The technologist will give you a time estimate before you begin.

Positioning:  Once the MRI technologist has positioned you, try to be as still as possible.  Body movement can blur the pictures.

Discomfort:  There is no pain, but you may feel some discomfort from remaining still.  You may want to request a blanket if you feel cold.  You will hear intermittent knocking sounds.  Earplugs or earphones with music will be provided to you.

MRI technologist:  The technologist will be in a nearby room, separated by a window and can communicate at all times through an intercom system.

After Your Scan

Activities:  You can resume your normal activities immediately after your MRI.

CD:  You can request a CD of your MRI.  There is a nominal charge for this service.

Results:  Your physician will share the results after a radiologist has reviewed your MRI scan.  Technologists are not permitted to discuss any information regarding your imaging results.