A Patient’s Guide to Open MRI

About Open MRI

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses a magnetic field and radio waves instead of X-ray to display many parts of the body, especially the brain, spine and joints.

What Is an Open MRI?

Our open MRI has clear, unobstructed space on three sides, so you can see and talk to our staff during the exam. That means a more pleasant experience for you.

What Is the Exam Like?

The exam usually takes 30 to 60 minutes. It consists of several image exposures lasting 10 to 15 minutes each. You’ll be asked to remove your make-up, eye-glasses, watch, jewelry, credit cards, dentures, hearing aids and any other metallic objects you are carrying. Then, the technologists will help you lie down on a cushioned table. A device called a “coil” will be placed over or under you. It helps the MRI system create a clear picture of your body. When you are comfortably positioned, the table will move under the magnet.

The technologists will then step into the control area, while staying in constant contact with you both visually and through an intercom.

As the exam proceeds, you will hear a muffled thumping sound for several minutes at a time. Other than the sound, the MRI creates no bodily sensation. Relax and try to lie as still as possible. Any movement during this time will blur the picture. When the exam is finished, the technologist will help you off the table.

Do I Need to Prepare for the Exam?

No special preparation is needed. Eat normally and take medication as usual, unless your doctor has given you other instructions. You may find it easier to relax if you avoid drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages before the exam.

Is There Any Risk?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging is very safe. There are no health risks associated with the magnetic field or the radio waves used by the machine.

However, some special circumstances limit the use of a magnetic field, so it is important for you to tell us if any of the following apply to you or someone accompanying you into the exam room:

  • Cardiac pacemaker or artificial heart valve

  • Metal plate, pin or other metallic implant

  • Intra uterine device, such as Copper-7 IUD

  • Insulin pump or other infusion pump

  • Aneurysm clips

  • Previous gun wound

  • Inner ear or implant

  • Ever been a metal worker (had metal in eye)

  • Permanent (tattoo) eye-liner

Any metallic substance on your person can affect the quality of the diagnostic images. It can also cause discomfort or injury to you when placed in the magnetic field, and may exclude you from the exam.

Also, be sure to tell us if you are pregnant.

Will I Need an Injection?

In most cases an MRI exam does not require injections. In some situations, however a sub known as a contrast agent may be needed to enhance the ability of the MRI to see into you. All contrast agents are cleared by the FDA and considered safe. Very anxious patients and children may be given a sedative to help them and lie still during the exam.

If you think you will require a sedative, you will need to bring someone to accompany you home.

Wide Open MRI of Bullhead City by Valley View Medical Center
200 Hwy 95, Suite 222
Bullhead City, AZ 86442

Telephone number: 928.704.0080