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magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

What is an MRI?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI is a highly sophisticated medical imaging technique that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce very clear pictures of the inside of the body. These black and white images enable physicians to often make a diagnosis, eliminating the need for biopsy or surgery. Since no x-rays are used, there is no exposure to radiation with MRI. The MRI is used to diagnose diseases of the: 

  • Brain
  • Breast
  • Spine
  • Skeleton
  • Chest
  • Abdomen
  • Pelvis
  • Blood vessels

When is an MRI used?

MRI is a good way to identify sports injuries and other problems with joints such as the knee and shoulder. It also is used in the diagnosis of cancer and the detection of injuries to the spine and disks. MRI allows for very detailed images of the heart, enabling physicians to examine how well it is pumping and whether there are any clots or blockages in the arteries - to diagnose or determine the extent of cardiac disease or coronary artery disease.

How do I prepare?

An MRI poses no risk for most people. However, any metallic substance in or on the body may affect the quality of the image and cause discomfort or injury during the procedure, so you must remove all metal on your body, such as jewelry. Before undergoing an MRI exam, be sure to inform your physician or the technologist if you are pregnant or if you have:

  • A cardiac pacemaker
  • An artificial heart valve
  • A metal plate, pin or metallic implant
  • An intrauterine device such as copper - 7 IUD
  • Aneurysm clips
  • Previous gunshot wound
  • Ever worked as a metal worker
  • Permanent (tattoo) eyeliner

Wear comfortable clothing with no metal. Bring your Physician's orders, insurance card, and picture I.D. with you. For your convenience, complimentary valet parking is available at the hospital's main entrance.  Family members are invited to stay in our waiting area for the duration of your procedure.

Click on your exam name below to view detailed prep instructions

MRI Preps

MRA (MR Angiogram) all areas of the body


MRI (not MRCP, not Pancreas)

MRI Pancreas

MRI Abdomen

What can I expect?

MRI A technologist will have you lie down on a cushioned table attached to the MRI. A device called a coil will be placed either above or below the area of the body being examined. This device helps produce a clearer image of the area. The MRI is an enclosed but well-lit chamber. Once you are comfortable, the table will begin to move slowly into the chamber of the magnet.   A technologist will stay in contact with you throughout the procedure, both visually and via intercom. During the exam, you will hear muffled thumping sounds for several minutes at a time. A number of images will be made, each taking about 10 to 15 minutes to complete. It is important to try to relax and remain as still as possible, as any movement during the exam will blur the image and produce less accurate results. The length of time of an MRI can differ greatly depending on the exam but most can be completed in 45 to 60 minutes.

When can I expect results?

Your diagnostic report will be available within three business days.  Please allow 7-10 days for your physician to receive and review your results. If you do not receive results within this 10-day window, please be sure to contact the physician who ordered your exam.

If you have any questions or comments about your experience in our Radiology department, please contact Radiology manager Brenda Downen at 309.268.5223, or

How do I schedule an MRI?

To schedule an MRI, call Central Scheduling at 309.268.5705.

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