What to Expect When Getting an MRI

What to Expect When Getting an MRI

An MRI scan is one of those medical procedures that most people have heard of, but that few people expect to find themselves receiving. If you are preparing for an MRI, it’s because your doctor has deemed it to be the best way to get the important answers you need about your health.

Like many medical procedures, an MRI can seem intimidating if you haven’t experienced it before. Here’s a peek into what you can expect during your MRI.

Before Your MRI

When you go to the imaging center, you’ll start by filling out basic paperwork and confirming your identity. From there, you’ll change into a medical gown to make sure that nothing in your clothing interferes with the scan.


In some cases, your doctor may want to use a contrast dye during your MRI. Contrast dyes make it easier to see certain areas and diagnose specific conditions, like conditions that affect your blood-brain barrier. If your doctor has requested contrast for your MRI test, a medical specialist will insert an IV into your arm before the scan.

During Your MRI

Most MRIs take about 45 minutes to an hour, or more if you are getting scans for multiple areas of your body.


The medical staff will bring you into the MRI room and have you lay on the table on the machine. Then the table will slowly slide into the machine so the scan can begin.


Keep in mind that there are multiple types ofMRI machines. A typical MRI machine has a tube that goes all the way around you except for the opening at the end, and this is called a closed MRI. There are also open MRIs, which have gaps and feel less “closed-in,” and standing MRIs.The type of MRI your provider uses will depend on the details your doctor needs.


When the table has slid into the machine, you’ll simply relax and lay very still throughout the procedure. The machine makes loud noises during the scan, but you’ll have earplugs or headphones to minimize the noise.


Depending on the area and purpose of your scan, your radiologist or technologist may ask you to hold your breath for a few seconds at times. There is an intercom inside the machine so you can communicate with the technologist when you need to.


If you are receiving contrast dye, the medical staff will inject it at a certain point in your procedure using your IV. This dye only stays in your system for a short time.


When your scan is finished, the radiologist will simply have the table slide back out of the MRI. The staff will remove yourIV if you have one and you’ll be able to change back into your clothes and go about your day.

What to Expect from the Price of an MRI

While you want to know what to expect from the experience of getting an MRI, knowing what to expect from the bill is just as important. Prices for MRIs vary considerably, but in many cases, you’ll actually pay less by self-paying rather than submitting to your insurance.


To get an idea of your cost in advance, use Imaging Panda and its “MRI near me”-like feature to compare prices and book appointments at imaging centers in your area for the specific MRI you need.


Before any medical procedure, the best way togo in is to be informed about what to expect. With the details above, you can put your mind at ease about both the procedure and the MRI cost.