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What happens during an MRI?

What happens during an MRI?

A radiologist or MRI technologist usually performs the scan in a hospital, clinic or imaging center using special equipment.

  • You’ll lie down on a moveable table that slides into the MRI machine. The machine looks like a long metal tube.
  • Depending on which part of your body needs to be checked, a small coil may be placed on that part of the body to send the radio waves and receive the MRI signal.
  • Your technologist will watch you from another room. You can talk with him or her by microphone. In some cases, a friend or family member may stay in the room with you.
  • The MRI machine will create a strong magnetic field around you, and radio waves will be directed at the area of your body to be imaged. You won’t feel the magnetic field or radio waves.
  • During the MRI scan, the magnet produces loud tapping or thumping sounds and other noises. You may be given earplugs or you may listen to music with headphones to help block the noise.
  • In some cases, you may have an intravenous (IV) line in your hand or arm for injecting a contrast agent into your veins (for an MRA).
  • The contrast agent produces better images of your tissues and blood vessels. It does not contain iodine and is less likely to cause an allergic reaction compared to the agents used for computed tomography (CT) scans.
  • An MRI scan lasts between 30 and 90 minutes.

You’ll need to lie still during the exam because movement can blur the images of your body. If you aren’t comfortable in close spaces, tell your doctor before the test. You can get a sedative to help you stay calm. Some clinics have machines with shorter magnets or wider openings to make you more comfortable.

References : This material has been put together with resources collected from the following sources :,,