An MRI is a scan of the inside of the body without actually entering the body. Images are taken using a series of magnets and radio waves. A computer uses the feedback to construct a detailed image and prints it out on the same film as used in x-ray but without the exposure to radiation. The MRI scanner is a large magnet in the shape of a tube through which a table slides.

Before the test
All metal objects interfere with the scan and must be removed. If you have a pacemaker or other internal metal object that cannot be removed, tell your doctor before the test is scheduled. The magnet tube is small and may cause some discomfort.

During the test
You will lie on the table and the technologist will move the table into position. It is important to lie still while the scan is being obtained. The machine makes a loud banging noise so you may want to wear earplugs. The length of the exam depends on the part to be scanned lasting from 45 to 90 minutes.

After the test
Your doctor or a radiologist will review the study and discuss the results with you.