Preferred Imaging Centers has multiple MRI centers in Chicago and nearby areas. Our patients often ask us “what will that I experience during that process?” In this article we’ll explain how the MRI process works for most of our patients.

Getting an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a medical procedure used to create detailed images of the internal structures of the body. It is a non-invasive and safe technology that provides valuable information to healthcare professionals for diagnosing and monitoring various medical conditions. Here’s a general overview of the process a patient undergoes when getting an MRI.

Scheduling and Preparation:
The process typically begins with a referral from a healthcare provider, such as a doctor or specialist. Once the need for an MRI is determined, the patient’s appointment is scheduled. The patient might receive specific instructions about preparation, which can include avoiding certain foods, wearing comfortable clothing without metal parts (since metal can interfere with the MRI’s magnetic field), and informing the healthcare team about any medical implants or devices (like pacemakers or metal implants) that they may have.

Arrival at the Imaging Facility:
On the day of the appointment, the patient arrives at the MRI imaging facility. They may be asked to fill out paperwork related to their medical history and any relevant allergies. It’s important to inform the healthcare team of any pre-existing medical conditions or concerns. Please note: You can find our locations near you from our locations page.

Changing into a Gown:
In most cases, the patient will be asked to change into a hospital gown to ensure that there are no metal objects on their clothing that could interfere with the MRI.

Screening for Metal:
Before entering the MRI room, the patient will undergo a metal screening. This is to ensure that no metal objects, which can be dangerous due to the strong magnetic field of the MRI machine, are brought into the imaging area. Any metallic items, such as jewelry, watches, or even removable dental work, should be removed.

Getting Positioned:
The patient lies down on a motorized table that will move them into the MRI machine. The technician or radiologist will help the patient get into the proper position for the specific part of the body being imaged. It’s crucial for the patient to stay as still as possible during the procedure to avoid blurring the images.

Please note: we offer earplugs and headphones at all of our facilities

Coil Placement:
Depending on the area being imaged, the technician may place specialized coils around the patient’s body. These coils help enhance the quality of the images captured by the MRI machine.

Entering the MRI Machine:
Once positioned and prepared, the table will move the patient into the MRI machine. The machine itself is a large, cylindrical device with a tunnel-like opening. Some MRI machines can be more open or less enclosed, depending on the patient’s comfort and the specific machine used.

MRI Scanning Process:
The MRI procedure itself involves the machine generating a powerful magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the body’s internal structures. The patient will hear loud knocking and tapping noises during the scan, and some MRI facilities provide earplugs or headphones to help reduce the noise discomfort.

Communication with Technicians:
The patient will be able to communicate with the MRI technician through a two-way intercom system or hand signals. This is important if the patient experiences discomfort, needs assistance, or has any concerns during the procedure.

Completion and Exit:
Once the imaging is complete, the table will move the patient out of the MRI machine. The technician or radiologist will review the images to ensure they are of sufficient quality. If further imaging is needed, additional scans may be conducted.

Post-Procedure Care:
After the procedure, the patient can typically resume their normal activities. There are usually no restrictions unless specific contrast agents were used.

Have questions? Get in touch!
View a Map to our MRI locations in and near Chicago


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