There are only a few absolute contraindications for MRI. Patients are excluded from a MRI if they have any of the following:

  • Cardiac pacemaker or implantable defibrillator
  • Catheter that has metal components that may pose a risk of a burn injury
  • A metal clip placed to prevent bleeding from an intracranial aneurysm or any clip in the brain without documentation
  • A cochlear (inner ear) implant without documentation
  • Metallic foreign body within or near the eye (such an object generally can be seen on an x-ray; metal workers)

Your patient before the exam will be asked to fill out a screening form asking about anything that might create a health risk or interfere with imaging. Items that need to be removed by patients and individuals before entering the MRI room include:

  • Purse, wallet, money clip, credit cards, cards with magnetic strips
  • Electronic devices such as beepers or cell phones
  • Hearing aids
  • Metal jewelry, watches
  • Pens, paper clips, keys, coins
  • Hair barrettes, hairpins
  • Any article of clothing that has a metal zipper, buttons, snaps, hooks, underwire bras, or metal threads
  • Shoes, belt buckles, safety pins

Patient will sign a consent form and be given a changing room, patient gown and a locker to put their personal items during the scan. The key will be placed on a hook inside the room with the patient. They should use the bathroom before entering the scanner, they may also bring a music CD or iPod/mp3 player that they wish to listen to while in the scanner. The MRI platform will move during the study and make loud metallic hammering noises.

Objects that may interfere with the image quality if close to the area being scanned but, do not pose a significant health risk include:

  • Cardiac stents or metallic heart valves as long as it has been 6-8 weeks
  • Metallic spinal rod
  • Plates, pins, screws, or metal mesh used to repair a bone or joint
  • Joint replacement or prosthesis (prosthesis may have to be removed please notify technologist if you have one)
  • Bullet, shrapnel or other types of metal fragments
  • Dental fillings (while usually unaffected by the magnetic field, they may distort images of the facial area, brain and cervical spine; the same is true for orthodontic braces and retainers)
  • Some tattoos or tattooed eyeliner (there is a chance of skin irritation or swelling with black, blue, red and metallic pigments and fresh tattoos react the most)

Claustrophobia can be a problem for some but, our magnet has a larger opening and is open on both ends to help with feelings of being confined.

There are no known risks of having an MRI when one is pregnant. However, we are not imaging pregnant patients routinely. We will review on a case-by-case basis if an exception needs to be made. Breast-feeding may not be performed for 24 hours after a contrast injection. The safe weight limit for the MRI table is 400 pounds and the gantry opening is 60cm.