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What is 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 make the best diagnoses possible. Since no X-rays are used, there is no exposure to ionizing radiation with MRI although MRI has not be proven completely safe for pregnant women. The MRI is used to diagnose diseases of the:

  • Brain
  • Breast
  • Chest
  • Gallbladder
  • Kidneys
  • Liver
  • Ovaries
  • Spine
  • Spleen
  • Vascular Imaging (veins and arteries)
  • Arthrograms

When is 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 primary cancer and metastic disease, and the detection of injuries to the spine and disks. MRI can also detect acute stroke in the brain.

What can I expect?

A technician 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 a spacious chamber, with well-lit openings at both ends. Once you are comfortable, the table will begin to move slowly into one of the openings and through 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 series of images will be made, each taking about 2 to 7 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.

When can I expect results?

A radiologist will review and interpret the images taken during your MRI. A report typically will then be sent to your referring physician within 48 hours. Please allow 7 - 10 days for your physician to receive and review your test results. If you do not receive results after 14 days, please be sure to contact the physician who ordered the test.

When is MRI not for you?

You should never have an MRI if you have a cardiac pacemaker.

If you currently or previously have had an implant, stent, filter or other medical device placed inside your body, you must seek approval from the MRI department staff to ensure safety. For information about MRI safety, visit

How do I schedule an MRI?

To schedule an MRI, please call 630.275.3600.

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