A magnetic resonance imaging scan is usually called an MRI. An MRI does not use radiation (X-rays) and is a noninvasive medical test or examination. The MRI machine uses a large magnet and a computer to take pictures of the inside of your body. Each picture or "slice" shows only a few layers of body tissue at a time. The pictures can then be examined on a computer monitor. Pictures taken this way may help caregivers find and see problems in your body more easily. The scan usually takes between 15 to 90 minutes.

Having a successful exam

MRI scans are very sensitive to motion. Each part of an exam is acquired over an individual scan of a few minutes. During each scan, the machine is acquiring images and any movement, regardless of how slight, can create blurriness in the entire set of images. It is important that when you are being scanned and the machine is making noise (which it does while acquiring images) that you do not move any part of your body. In between scans, while the scanner is quite, it is ok to have minor movement (i.e. scratch your nose) as long as you done move your body position.

The MRI scan requires you to lie on your back, without moving for 15 to 45 minutes. If you have pain while lying down or suffer from anxiety (claustrophobia, etc), please discuss with your physician. He/She may be able to help with medication to make the MRI exam more successful. Keep in mind, some medications will require you to have someone drive you to and from your MRI exam.

As with many medical exams, please do not bring children to your appointment unless they have another adult to care for them.


Some exams require the administration of IV contrast (some times called "dye"). Most of these type of exams will have the contrast administered through a vein in your arm.  You may be required to have a blood test prior to the exam to verify adequate kidney function.

Exam Preparation

Please wear comfortable clothes and refrain from wearing clothes or items with metal. If your clothes have metal (e.g. rivets in pants, embellishments on shirts, etc) you will need to change into an exam gown during the procedure. Prior to the exam, you will need to complete a questionnaire to identify if you have any implanted metal in your body. Certain devices are not generally allowed into an MRI scanner (such as most pacemakers and many aneurism clips). If you do have an implanted devices (such as cardiac stent) it is helpful if you bring the device card you received after your surgery.

  • If any of the following conditions exist please notify SDI before your exam.
    - Cardiac Pacemaker
    - Cerebral Aneurysm Clips
    - Cochlear Implants
    - Implanted Insulin or Chemotherapy Pumps
    - Implanted Neuro-Stimulator Devices
    - Pregnancy
    - Heart Valve Replacements
    - Other Prosthetic Devices
    - Metal Fragments in Eye (If you have worked with metal, e.g. welding/grinding, you may need an x-ray to assure there are no metal fragments)

SDI offers lockers to secure your valuables, but is not responsible for lost or stolen items. Please leave all jewelry and valuables at home.

MRI Screening Form

To save time, open the following metal screening form, print and fill it out.  Every patient having an MRI must complete the 1st page.  Fill out the 2nd page as it applies to your appointment.  Click here for screening form.