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Exams We Offer: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

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MRI uses high-powered magnets and radio waves to produce images of organs and structures inside the body. The MRI scanner is shaped like a building block with a very large hole in the middle where the patient lies on a table during the exam. The picture quality is at its best in the center of the magnet. This is why the part of your body that your doctor needs examined is always placed in the center. The information collected by the MRI scanner is sent to a computer and translated into images.


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How to prepare for your MRI exam

  • EAT/DRINK: You may eat, drink and take medications as usual for most MRI exams. There are some specialty MRI exams that require certain restrictions. You will be provided detailed preparations instructions by Johns Hopkins Medical Imaging when you schedule your exam.

    CLOTHING: You must completely change into a patient gown and lock up all personal belongings. Please remove all piercings and leave all jewelry and valuables at home.

    ALLERGY: Some MRI exams require IV contrast. If you have had an allergic reaction to MRI contrast that required medical treatment, contact your ordering physician to discuss if the recommended prescription of 40mg Prednisone by mouth 24, 12 and 2 hours prior to the examination is right for you.

    ANTI-ANXIETY MEDICATION: If you require anti-anxiety medication due to claustrophobia, contact your ordering physician for a prescription. You must bring the medication with you for your appointment. The MRI technologist will give you instructions for when to take your medication. Please note that you will need someone else to drive you home.

    STRONG MAGNETIC ENVIRONMENT: Due to the strong magnetic field, you must inform your doctor prior to the appointment if you have any metal in your body. Detailed information may be needed, such as implant type and body part location, to determine your eligibility for MRI. If you have metal within your body that was not disclosed prior to your appointment, your study might be delayed, rescheduled or canceled upon your arrival until further information can be obtained.

    When you call to make an appointment, please let us know if you have any of the following:

    • You have a pacemaker or have had heart valves replaced
    • You have any type of implantable pump, such as an insulin pump
    • You have vessel coils, filters, stents, or clips
    • You are pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant
    • You have ever had a bullet wound
    • You have ever worked with metal (for example, a metal grinder or welder)
    • You have metallic fragments anywhere in the body
    • You are not able to lie down for 30 to 60 minutes
    1. You will be asked to completely change into a patient gown and lock up all personal belongings.

    2. If your doctor ordered your MRI to be done with IV contrast, an intravenous (IV) line will be started in your hand or arm for injection of the contrast dye.

    3. Your MRI exam takes place inside of a large tube-like structure, open on both ends.  You will lie on a scan table that slides into the opening of the scanning machine.

    4. When the imaging begins, a clicking noise will sound. Because the machine is very loud, you will be given earplugs that are required. You may also be offered headphones to wear to listen to music and to further help lessen the noise.

    5. The MRI technologist will be monitoring your scan the entire time. Speakers inside the scanner will enable the technologist to communicate with and hear you. You will have a communication ball to squeeze to signal the technologist. The technologist will be watching you at all times and will be in constant communication.

    6. It is important for you to remain very still during the examination for quality images.  You may be provided supports to help you remain still for the exam.

    7. Depending on the body part being examined, you may be instructed to hold your breath, or to not breathe, for a few seconds. You will then be told when you can breathe. You should not have to hold your breath for longer than a few seconds.

    8. Once the scan is complete, the table will slide out of the scanner and you will be assisted off the table.

    9. If an IV line was inserted for contrast administration, the line will be removed.

  • There is typically no special type of care after an MRI.

    If contrast dye is used during your procedure and you experience any side effects or reactions to the contrast, such as itching, swelling, rash or difficulty breathing after your appointment call your doctor right away. If you feel it is a life threatening emergency, call 911.

    You may resume your normal diet and activities, unless your doctor advises you differently. Your doctor may give you additional or alternate instructions after the procedure depending on your particular situation.


Why Choose Johns Hopkins Medical Imaging?

Johns Hopkins Medical Imaging brings the world-class expertise of Johns Hopkins to your community. Why does expertise matter? Because you matter. Here is how we do it:
  • Physician Experts

    We set the standard for other radiologists around the world.

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  • #1 Radiology Department

    We are the top-ranked radiology department by U.S. News and World Report.

  • State-of-the-Art Technology

    Doing the right study with high quality increases accuracy.

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  • Your Safety Is Always Our Priority

    We take comprehensive safety measures to minimize any possible risk.

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  • Specialty Technologists

    Our dedicated staff work in their exclusive fields and are trained to the same high standards.

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  • Patient Care

    We’re here to make you feel safe and comfortable during your appointment.

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