Preparing For Your MRI

If there is a possibility of pregnancy, please inform the technologist prior to the date of your examination. Please advise our department prior to your procedure if you have allergies or previous contrast media reaction.

Important precautions

MRI is a non-invasive exam. As MRI works with a strong magnet and radio waves, you need to tell us if any of the following apply to you:

  • Aneurysm clip(s)
  • Cardiac pacemaker
  • Implanted cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)
  • Electronic implant or device
  • Magnetically-activated implant or device
  • Neurostimulation system
  • Spinal cord stimulator
  • Cochlear implant or implanted hearing aid
  • Insulin or infusion pump
  • Implanted drug infusion device
  • Any type of prosthesis or implant
  • Artificial or prosthetic limb
  • Any metallic fragment or foreign body
  • Any external or internal metallic object
  • Hearing aid
Any metallic substance on your person can affect the quality of the diagnostic images. It can also cause discomfort or even injury to you when placed into the magnetic field.

What is an MRI scan?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a method of looking inside the body. Instead of x-rays, the MRI scanner uses magnetism and radio waves to produce remarkably clear pictures of your head, spine, or other parts of your body.

Preparing for an MRI

Please arrive approximately 15 minutes prior to your appointment time to allow for parking and registration. If you bring friends or family to the appointment they will be asked to have a seat in a waiting room during your test. Children cannot be left unattended during the test, so please arrange for a caregiver.

No special preparation is needed prior to the exam, unless your practitioner or the MRI Department has given you other instructions. You will be asked to complete a safety screening form and answer questions pertaining to your medical history. Patients receiving a contrast injection may be required to have a blood test prior to the examination. The final determination of contrast administration is typically decided by the reading radiologist. At times the scan is changed from contrast to non-contrast or vice versa on the day of your exam. If this should occur and you have not had the test, the imaging department will help to facilitate this step.

You will be asked to remove all:

  • Jewelry
  • Watches
  • Hairpins
  • Glasses
  • Piercings
  • Nylon tights
  • Credit cards
  • Phone cards
  • Wallets
  • Keys
  • Other metallic objects
  • Some medication patches

What happens during an MRI scan?

After you have removed all metal objects, the technologist will position you on a special table, and the table will then slide into the scanner. You will always be able to communicate with the technologist during the exam.

For clear pictures, you will be asked to hold very still and relax. Any movement during the scan may cause the images to be blurry. This may result in the need for repeated images and additional time for your scan.

While the machine is taking your pictures, you will hear rapidly repeating, thumping noises coming from the walls of the scanner. During this time, you should breathe quietly and normally but otherwise refrain from any movement, coughing or wiggling. When the thumping noise stops, you must refrain from changing your position or moving about.

There are multiple sets of pictures that are included in a study, each lasting about 3-5 minutes. The total procedure will usually take between approximately 30 and 45 minutes to complete. If your provider has ordered multiple studies the total procedure time will increase significantly.


Our radiologist will study your examination and a report will be forwarded to your practitioner, from whom you may obtain the results. If you have any questions regarding this procedure, please contact our department at at 608-342-4740.

Date of appointment _______________________________________ Time_____________________

Your procedure will be performed at Southwest Health at 1400 Eastside Road – Platteville, WI 53818. Please use the Main Hospital Entrance and check in at the Registration Desk prior to your scheduled procedure.

If you cannot keep your appointment please contact the radiology department at 608-342-4740 so that me may accommodate another patient.

NOTE: It may take 2-3 days to obtain verification from your insurance company for exams that require prior authorization, such as CT, MRI, Nuclear Stress, Injections, etc.