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MRI FAQ

MRI Services in New Jersey

You can prepare for an upcoming MRI by reading these answers to some frequently asked questions.

Should I get an MRI or a CT Scan?
  • While MRIs and CT scans can produce similar types of images, the MRI is generally considered the more powerful of the two devices. Additionally, MRIs use magnetic fields instead of X-rays, meaning patients are not exposed to any radiation. However, MRIs also take longer and are more expensive.
  • While MRIs are known as the more powerful device, both CTs and MRIs can be better for capturing images in different parts of the body. CT scanning generally considered the best choice for lung imaging, while MRIs are often more effective in orthopedic situations, such as knee MRI, foot MRI, or shoulder MRI, just to name a few. MRIs are also often used to clarify ambiguous results from CT scans.
What is an “open MRI”?
  • Open MRIs, have openings on the sides, similar to the open MRI in our Brick, NJ office. This makes it the preferred choice for claustrophobic patients. It can be harder to generate powerful magnetic fields in an open MRI, but at Atlantic Medical Imaging, we have invested in cutting-edge technology that produces results that are as clear as the closed MRI.
I have metal implants, can I still have an MRI?
  • Pacemakers, cochlear implants, piercings, and other metal implants can interfere with the MRI, so be sure to let your doctor know you have these beforehand. The exception to this is fillings, which do not seem to have any effect on MRI results. You will also need a clearance letter from the physician who inserted the device.
How long does an MRI last?
  • MRIs can last anywhere between 15 and 90 minutes. The average time is about 30 minutes.
When will I get my results?
  • You will not get results immediately after your test is over. Radiologists need time to examine the images and compare them with your medical records and any previous images that might be on file. They typically have results within 48 hours, at which point they send their findings to the referring physician who will contact you to discuss them.
I’ve heard MRIs are loud and cramped, is this true?
  • MRIs can be very loud when running, and a closed MRI does put patients in a tight, confined space where they cannot move. The experience can be stressful for some, but there will be an intercom in the machine so that you can continue talking with your technologist. At AMI, we also provide patients with music to listen to during their exam. For certain exams, we may be able to provide patients with music to listen to during their exam to help ease your experience.
How do I prepare for an MRI?
  • There is virtually no special preparation for an MRI exam. Before the scheduled MRI, you should eat as usual and take any medications you usually take, unless your doctor instructs otherwise. You will be asked to remove things that could affect the magnetic imaging, such as jewelry, eyeglasses, dentures, hearing aids, and any other object that contains metal.

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