The length of your exam will depend on what is ordered by your doctor, or the body part of interest.

In general exams will take 45-60 minutes and up to 2 hours for specialty exams.

For more detailed information regarding the length of your exam, please call the scheduling department at (916) 734-0655

  • On average, brain and spine exams may last about 45 minutes. If exam includes contrast, study may take up to 15 minutes longer.
  • Body exams may take up to 45-60 minutes. For body exams, it is important to follow the breathing instructions given to you for good quality reading.
  • Cardiac MRI, due to the physiological function of the heart, along with natural breathing motion may take an hour and a half to two hours.
  • An average iknee, ankle, hip, elbow and wrist exams may take 25-45 minutes long. One of the factors these exams depend on, is the length of the anatomy of interest. For example, an MRI scan of the thigh bone (femur) will most likely take longer than a routine knee exam.
  • Breast imaging exams may take about 45 minutes to an hour. If Breast Biopsy is required, exam might take up to 1 hour. Some factors that affect the time of the exam are the shape and size of the breasts. Most breast exams will require the use of a contrast injection.

Noise is the byproduct of electrical pulses within the MRI scanner. These electrical pulses produce the images. You will be provided with ear plugs to reduce the noise and make your experience more comfortable.


MRI scanner is an oversized and extremely powerful magnet, which is approximately 13 times stronger than the magnet which picks up cars in a junk yard and 30,000 times stronger than the earth's magnetic pull. If a metal object is brought in the room, it will be attracted to the strong magnetic field and become a projectile. Electronic devices might be rendered useless by a strong magnetic environment. You will be asked to change into hospital approved attire for your examination to avoid such incidents.

For more information please visit our safety page.


A certified and licensed MRI technologist will be helping you. In addition our technologists are certified to start IV catheters, perform CPR and are required to have ongoing continued education.

Your MRI exam will be read by a board certified radiologist with extensive subspecialty training.  

 Logging into MyChart or contacting your primary care physician will be the best way to look up your results.

Click for MyChart
  • MRI Contrast is different from CAT scan (Iodine) contrast.
  • Some MRI exams require the use of a contrast injection. Whether or not your exam includes a contrast injection depends on the type of exam.
  • The use of contrast in MRI may make certain tissues, abnormalities, or disease processes more visible on the MRI scan. For all exams, images will first be acquired without the contrast injection. After several images are taken, the MRI technologist will then enter the room to administer the contrast intravenously. The contrast is not given prior to the beginning of the exam so that the radiologist has images before and after the contrast is administered.
  • Most Body imaging requires the use of a contrast injection. However, unlike most other exams where the contrast is administered with a small “butterfly” needle, body exams require the MRI technologist to start an IV. Prior to the start of the exam, the technologist will connect your IV to a system called the Power Injector. Near the end of the exam, contrast will be administered via the Power Injector at a flow rate that is faster than by hand.


  • For more detailed information regarding instructions for your exam, please call the scheduling department at (916) 734-0655

  • You may eat, drink, and take your medications as usual for most MRI exams, with the exception of:
  • For body exams, you will be asked to fast 4-6 hours prior to your exam.
  • For some exams in which detailed images of the mid abdomen are taken, you may be asked to drink a small can of pineapple juice before the start of your exam.
  • For Enterography exam, you will be asked to drink 1-3 bottles of Volumen/contrast that will help enhance your study.

Yes you can, by calling Legal Film Library at (916) 703-2147. Please be advised that this process might take up to 48 hours. Unfortunately we are unable to make a copy of your images for you in MRI department.