Frequently Asked Questions

We hope the following most frequently asked questions and answers will increase your understanding and comfort level and better prepare you for your MRI examination. If something is not clear, or you still have questions, please feel free to ask one of your TOC care team.

What is MRI?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a painless method physicians use to look inside your body without using X-rays. An MRI produces cross-sectional images of your body. Unlike CT scans, MRI works without radiation. The MRI tool uses magnetic fields and a sophisticated computer to take high-resolution pictures of your bones and soft tissues.

What can I expect?

When your doctor refers you for an MRI exam, arrange a time to talk with him or the physician assistant beforehand so that they may address all of your questions and concerns. It is helpful if you write your questions down beforehand and bring them with you to review with one of our team.

Is there anything I should share with my doctor before having an MRI?

Please tell us if you have a history of claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces).

It is very important to tell your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • a pacemaker
  • artificial heart valve
  • cochlear hearing implants
  • medication or dietary constraints that may interfere with the procedure
  • think you may be pregnant

It is extremely important to tell your physician if you have any metallic objects in your body, even if you merely suspect it. These materials may interfere with the examination. Metal objects include:

  • Surgical clips
  • Joint and bone pins
  • Metal plates 
  • Embedded bullets, shrapnel, or a BB shot.

What should I do to prepare for an MRI?

Limit the amount of fluids you drink on the day of the exam. You will have to remain still for 30 – 60 minutes so you don’t want to be worried about having a full bladder during the MRI. Otherwise, you may go about your normal routine.

When you arrive, a TOC technologist will ask you to remove anything metallic such as a hearing aid, dental appliances such as dentures or a partial plate, watches, jewelry, and hairpins. Please allow your technologist to store your credit cards, watches, coins, and keys for safe keeping.

What happens during the examination?

Before the scan, a technologist will assist you onto an automatic scanning table. Here, you will be asked to relax, lay on your back, place your arms at your side, and place your head on a headrest. It is important that you do not move during the MRI. The table will then begin to slide very smoothly into the opening. You will not feel anything, but you will hear the normal thumping noise and hum of the machine. A speaker is installed in the magnet to allow you to communicate with the technologist during the procedure if you wish.

How long does an MRI take?

The exam typically takes between 30 and 60 minutes. You may fall asleep if you like. When the exam is complete, your technologist will help you off the table and show you where to collect your personal belongings.

How does an MRI scanner work?

MRI uses a large magnet, radio waves, and a computer to scan your body and reproduce detailed pictures that cannot be seen by a conventional x-ray machine. The MRI creates a magnetic field around you, then pulses radio waves to the area of your body that needs to be imaged. The radio waves cause your tissues to resonate. A computer records the rate at which your body's various parts (tendons, ligaments, nerves, etc.) give off these vibrations, and translates the data into a detailed, two-dimensional picture that will assist your physician in making a diagnosis and planning the treatment that is right for you. You will not feel any pain while undergoing an MRI, but the machine may be somewhat noisy.

What risks, if any, are associated with an MRI?

There are no known harmful effects from exposure to the magnetic fields or radio waves used in producing MRI images.

Contact MRI

If you have any questions about your MRI, call Shelby Morris at 850.219.1940 or email:

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