MRI Scan Preparation in Maryland

What should I expect during an MRI?

Depending on how many images are needed, the exam generally takes 15 to 45 minutes. However, very detailed studies may take longer.

  • You must lie down on a sliding table and be comfortably positioned.
  • Even though the technologist must leave the room, you will be able to communicate with them at any time using an intercom.
  • If necessary, many MRI centers allow a friend or family member to stay in the room with you during the exam.
  • You will be asked remain still during the actual imaging process. However, between sequences, which last between 2-15 minutes, slight movement is allowed.
  • Depending on the part of the body being examined, a contrast material may be used to enhance the visibility of certain tissues or blood vessels. A small needle is placed in your arm or hand vein and a saline solution IV drip will run through the intravenous line to prevent clotting. About two-thirds of the way through the exam, the contrast material is injected.

What will I experience during an MRI?

  • Having an MRI is painless.
  • Some claustrophobic patients may experience a “closed in” feeling. If this is a concern, a sedative may be administered. Also, newer open MRI machines have helped to alleviate this reaction.
  • You will hear loud tapping or thumping during the exam which is the imaging process being performed. Earplugs or earphones may be provided to you by the MRI center.
  • You may feel warmth in the area being examined. This is normal.
  • If a contrast injection is needed, there may be some discomfort at the injection site. You may also feel a cool sensation at the site during the injection. Allergic reactions to the substance rarely occur.

Typical MRI Exams

  • MRI Brain
  • MRI Head
  • MRI Pituitary
  • Brain Spectroscopy
  • MRA Neck
  • MRI C-Spine
  • MRI T-Spine
  • MRI L-Spine
  • MRI Chest


  • MRI Breast
  • MRI Orbits
  • MRI Feet
  • MRI Ankles
  • MRI Wrist
  • MRI Upper/lower Extremities
  • MRI Female Pelvis
  • MR Angiography


  • Neuroquant
  • MRI Breast Implant screening
  • Breast MRI guided biopsy
  • MRI Abdomen
  • MRI Knee
  • MRI Shoulder
  • MRI Hand
  • MRI Pelvic Floor Defecography
  • MRI Enterography


Prep Instructions for an MRI

MRI uses a very powerful magnet, radio waves and a sophisticated computer system to produce remarkable images without x-ray radiation.

  • Before your MRI exam, remove all accessories including hair pins, jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids, wigs, dentures. During the exam, these metal objects may interfere with the magnetic field, affecting the quality of the MRI images taken.
  • Notify your technologist if you have:
    • any prosthetic joints – hip, knee
    • a heart pacemaker (or artificial heart valve), defibrillator or artificial heart value
    • an intrauterine device (IUD),
    • any metal plates, pins, screws, or surgical staples in your body.
    • tattoos and permanent make-up.
    • a bullet or shrapnel in your body, or ever worked with metal.
    • if you might be pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant.
    • if you are claustrophobic. Some patients who undergo MRI in an enclosed unit may feel confined. If you are not easily reassured, a sedative may be administered.
  • If you have a history of working around metal, grinding, welding or you think you may have metal in your eyes, you will need to come for an orbital x-ray prior to your appointment.
  • In addition, please do not wear hairspray or eye makeup.
  • You may be asked to change into a patient gown. Sometimes this is not necessary if your clothes are relatively free of metal.

Please note that a patient may not qualify for an M.R.I. exam if any of the following conditions exist:

  • Pacemaker
  • Aneurysm Clips
  • Neural Stimulator
  • Metal Objects Imbedded in the Body
  • IUD
  • Permanent makeup (eyeliner, lip liner, eyebrows, etc.) unless vegetable dye was used
  • Cochlear Implants
  • Artificial Heart Valve
  • Pregnancy
  • Metallic Fragments, Objects
  • Please alert our staff to any of the above conditions when you schedule an appointment, and inform the technologist of your condition(s) before beginning an examination.
  • Please make arrangements to bring all related imaging studies, i.e., prior x-rays, CT’s, M.R.I.’s, Sonograms, Mammograms, etc., so that our radiologist can make comparisons and provide the best interpretation of your new studies.Patient History and MRI Safety Screening Form

COVID-19 Update

The Governors of Maryland and Virginia have closed all non-essential businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Radiology centers have been classified as essential services. 

The health, well-being, and safety of our patients and staff is our top priority. We are committed to helping stop the spread of COVID-19. We have taken steps to continue providing only critical service required to meet the needs of the community.  After very careful consideration we have decided to reschedule all non-urgent imaging appointments as well as consolidate our services by adjusting hours and center openings. To protect everyone, we are closely following the guidance of local, national and global health authorities – including the CDC – in addressing current challenges. As circumstances continue to change, we will keep you informed.

As the situation continues to develop in our community, we want to maintain our ability to provide quality service while safeguarding the health and safety of our patients and staff. We realize these are tenuous times and we are actively monitoring the ongoing situation and following the latest available CDC guidelines. In an effort to limit the risk of exposure for our patients and our employees who may be in high-risk categories, we are asking that you:

Please do not go to a Fairfax Radiology Center/Radiology Imaging Associates location if ANY of the following apply:

    1. You have cough, fever, or shortness of breath
    2. You have traveled by airplane or to New York City in the past 14 days or less
    3. You have had contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who is undergoing a test (results pending) for COVID-19.

Instead, please contact your physician for instructions. Patients may call to reschedule their appointment once they are symptom and fever-free for a minimum of 24 hours without the use of medication.

Trusted and Credible Resources for Coronavirus COVID-19 Updates:

Radiology Imaging Associates Logo