Undergoing a Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, exam can be stressful for many patients. The experience has traditionally been considered loud, uncomfortable, and constricting — particularly for those with anxiety or claustrophobia. Today, however, patients needing imagery at Beth Israel Deaconess–Milton will experience a new, first-class facility and exam room with a comfortable and relaxing spa-like environment and state-of-the-art equipment that is wider, more open, and reduces the need for patients to hold their breath by 40%.
MRI is a valuable, painless, diagnostic imaging test that produces detailed, high-resolution images of the human body without the use of X-rays. The images produced are created by using a large magnet, radio waves, and a computer system to process the data. Procedures using MRI have no ionizing radiation.
Patients undergoing an MRI exam at Beth Israel Deaconess–Milton can customize their ambient experience by scrolling through a variety of sounds, lights and scenes on a touchscreen display outside of the exam room. The layout and design of the new MRI waiting room and exam room were very carefully considered to help ensure we can continue to deliver exceptional care to our community for years to come.
Preparing for Your Exam: Before, During, and After
Most MRI exams are scheduled in either one 40-minute or two 40-minute appointments. If you are having more than one MRI exam the same day, each exam will be scheduled in a separate appointment time slot.
MRIs involve the use of a very strong magnet. For your safety, we ask that you complete our Safety Checklist. A technologist will review this form with you prior to your exam.
Before Your MRI Exam
- Depending on the type of exam, there may be a preparation period prior to the actual scan. In general, we ask that you arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment to complete any paperwork, including our Safety Questionnaire.
- Patients will be asked to change into a hospital gown for the MRI exam. Any metallic objects such as jewelry, hearing aids, eyeglasses and wallets will need to be removed prior to the exam. Patient lockers are available to store your personal items during the exam. However, it is recommended that valuable items, such as jewelry, be left at home. We also ask that patients refrain from using make-up and hair products, as some contain metallic particles that can interfere with the MRI scan.
- For some MRI scans, the use of a contrast agent may be necessary. The contrast agent highlights organs and blood vessels and helps the radiologist to better distinguish between normal and abnormal tissues. The contrast agent is administered intravenously and is determined by the radiologist based history or indications provided by the ordering physician. The contrast substance used during the MRI is gadolinium-based and is approved by the FDA. It is not the same contrast used for CT Scans. Most patients can receive this contrast without any problems. However, all patients receiving contrast and those with kidney disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or gout, may need to do a specific blood test prior to the scan to ensure that the kidneys are functioning well and can tolerate the injection.
During Your MRI Exam
- The MRI procedure typically lasts anywhere from 40 to 80 minutes. To conduct the scan, patients will be assisted onto a padded, moveable scanning table and positioned inside the opening of the MRI scanner. The patient is observed by the technologist throughout the study.
- During the exam the patient may notice a variety of sounds such as humming and thumping noises. This is completely normal and is caused when electric current passes through a series of coils in the scanner. Patients may be provided with headphones and can even connect their phones to the machine’s display to stream their personal TV, movies and music. During the exam, it is important for patients to remain as still as possible.
After Your MRI Exam
- A radiologist will read the MRI results, usually within 24 hours or less. The results are then sent to the ordering physician, who will discuss the results with their patient.
Safety Information & Screening Forms
For most patients, MRIs do not pose any risks if appropriate guidelines are followed. However, for some patients, an MRI may not be suitable. Notify your doctor if you have or believe that you might have any of the following:
- Cardiac pacemaker
- Brain aneurysm clips
- Are or may be pregnant
- Implanted medication pumps
- Implanted nerve stimulating devices
- Intrauterine device (IUD)
- Any other surgically implanted or metallic object in your body
For safety reasons, the MRI environment must remain free of metal objects. Please remove the following prior to entering the exam room:
- Cell phones
- All jewelry and watches
- Removable dental work
- Hairclips and pins
- Hearing aids
- Wallet and credit cards
For your safety, we will request that you complete our safety checklist prior to your exam.
Hours & Contact Information
Beth Israel Deaconess–Milton is now offering MRI on Sundays and extended hours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Monday, Thursday, Friday: 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
Tuesday, Wednesday: 7:00 am - 9:30 pm
Saturday: 7:00 am - 3:30 pm
Sunday: 7:00 am - 3:30 pm
For Medical Professionals: To refer a patient for a radiology exam, complete the radiology request form and fax it to 617-313-1555.
For Patients: To schedule an exam, please call 617-313-1140 during the hours of 7:30 am - 5:30 pm.
Learn more about MRIs through resources provided by the Radiological Society of North America and American College of Radiology: