At Wesley Medical Center, patients have access to advanced medical technology and imaging testing services at four conveniently located hospitals and clinics. Patients undergo an MRI or other imaging tests in a safe environment tailored to their needs. Our facilities offer flexible scheduling for MRI testing and results are generally available within 3 to 5 business days.

What is an MRI?

An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a non-invasive medical imaging technique that uses magnets, radiofrequency waves and hydrogen atoms to create a detailed scan of the organs and tissues in the body. Here are some key facts patients should know about getting an MRI scan:

  • An MRI does not use radiation. However, there are some risks associated with an MRI. Patients should notify their doctor about any medical conditions (like if they have a pacemaker or other implant device) before scheduling an MRI.
  • An MRI scan typically takes 15 minutes to one hour, depending on the type of testing being done. The results of your MRI exam are read by a radiologist and typically faxed to your physician within 3-5 business days.
  • The MRI machines used at Wesley Medical Center are closed MRI’s. Wide-bore MRI machines are available at Wesley Medical Center and Wesley Woodlawn. These wide-bore MRI machines offer a more spacious testing experience for patients.

Routine MRI Exams

Routine MRI exams without contrast (a chemical substance injected into the body that helps enhance the detailed images of the scan) usually take 15 to 30 minutes. There are no special preparations for a routine MRI without contrast. Routine MRI exams with and without contrast include:

  • Brain
  • Pelvis
  • MRA Head
  • Hip
  • Cervical Spine
  • Femur
  • Thoracic Spine
  • Knee
  • Lumbar Spine
  • Tib-Fib
  • Shoulder
  • Ankle
  • Humerus
  • Foot
  • Elbow
  • Wrist
  • Hand
  • Forearm
  • Abdomen
    • Exam time: 20-30 Minutes
    • Prep: You will be asked to be NPO (No food or drink) for at least four hours before your exam. You may take your regular medications with a sip of water. There will be breathing instructions to follow during this exam.

Frequently Asked Questions about MRI Testing

When I can expect the results of my MRI exam?

The MRI exams are read by a radiologists and then faxed to your physician within two business days.

Why is the MRI machine so loud?

The scanner works with strong magnetic fields. Inside of MRI machine there are parts called gradients. During a scan, the gradients turn on and off quite fast, which is why they create a sound.

Will I fit?

Our machines are wide bore machines with a 450-pound limit. This means we have the capability to cater to most people.

What if I am claustrophobic?

If you are claustrophobic, it is best to consult your physician before having an MRI. They may prescribe you something to help you relax. If you are unable to complete your MRI, Wesley offers MRI under anesthesia.

What is contrast?

Contrast is a specialized chemical substance utilized to enhance the quality of the images. MRI contrast is called Gadolinium. Wesley Medical Center uses a brand called Prohance. Patients will often get a metallic taste in their mouth and feel the coolness, as the contrast is administered through the IV. Your technologist will provide you with a copy of the Medication Guide for Prohance from the FDA before your exam.

MRI and Implant Devices

Whether or not a patient can undergo an MRI depends on the type of device they have. MRI-compatible devices include, but is not limited to: Cardiac Pacemakers, AICD’s, Neurostimulators, and other implantable devices. You will be asked to have the information card on your device when you are scheduled for your MRI. The technologists will use that information to help determine if you are able to undergo an MRI.

  • Pacemakers/AICD — Pacemakers are not MRI safe unless you have an MRI compatible device. A representative of the company that made your device will need to be present to place your device in to a safe mode and a nurse will be present to monitor you during your scan.
  • Neurostimulators — if your neurostimulator is MRI compatible you will need to bring the remote so that the technologist can help you place the device into safe scan mode.
  • Insulin Pumps – Your insulin pump will need to be removed before your exam.
  • Loop recorder —Safe for MRI scans, however, we suggest that you have the current information on it downloaded before your MRI because the MRI will erase any information currently stored on the recorder.

Specialty MRI Exams

Wesley Medical Center provides a number of of specialty MRI exams for patients, including Cardiac, Prostate and Pediatric Sedation. Here’s what patients undergoing these exams need to know prior to testing:

  • MRCP (for pancreas, gallbladder and liver)
    For a MRCP, you will be asked to remain NPO (No food or drink) for at least 4 hours prior to your exam.
  • Enterography (abdomen and pelvis)
    • PREP
      • You will be asked to remain NPO (No food or drink) for at least 4 hours prior to your exam.
      • For an MR Enterography (MRE) you will be asked to check in for your appointment one hour and 15 minutes before your exam time. This exam uses both oral and IV contrasts to obtain high-quality images of your abdomen and pelvis.
    • EXAM
      • You will be provided a contrast drink, by the MRI technologist, to consume over the course of an hour.
      • When it comes time for your exam, the technologist will bring you back to the changing area where you will be required to remove any metal or electronics.
      • An imaging nurse or an MRI technologist will start your IV for the IV contrast administration.
      • There will be breathing instructions to follow during this exam.
  • Arthrogram (joint)
    • For a MR Arthrogram you will first be taken back to the X-ray department. There, with the assistance of fluoroscopy, one of our skilled radiologists will inject the contrast material into the joint-space being imaged.
    • Once the injection is complete, you will be taken to the MRI suite, where your MR Arthrogram will be completed. The MRI exam time is about 20-30 minutes.
  • Cardiac
    • Cardiac MRI imaging will take a minimum of 2 hours.
    • You will be hooked up to an EKG for the duration of the scan.
    • There will be multiple breath-hold instructions during this scan.
  • Fetal
    Patients will be scanned lying on their left side.
  • Prostate
    • MRI Prostate exams will take 40-50 minutes.
    • These exams are with and without contrast. An imaging nurse or MRI technologist will start your IV for the administration of this contrast.
  • Sedation
    • If you are unable to complete your MRI due to claustrophobia or other health concerns, we offer MRI under anesthesia.
    • This method ensures that you will be asleep during your exam.
  • MARS/Mavric
    • This exam is specifically ordered for patients with joint replacements (i.e. hip, knee, etc.).
    • Expect this exam to take about 30-45 minutes.
  • Pediatric Sedation – Utilize Child Life Services for Pediatric Exams
    • It is very important for the patient to remain very still for the best MRI images. We know sometimes our younger patients are unable to do this for the length of the exam.
    • Pediatric sedation is offered at Wesley. Our pediatric sedation unit will put your little one to sleep for the duration of the exam.
  • Pediatric Goggles - Utilize Child Life Services for Pediatric Exams
    • For our pediatric patients who are not going to be scanned under sedation, we offer the use of video goggles.
    • We utilize a system of goggles and headphones that allow the patient to watch and hear a video during their scan.
    • This means that your child will be able to watch their favorite movie during their scan! If they do not have a favorite, or you forget to bring a video — don’t fret, we have a small selection of movies available.