All forms should be completed in advance of your appointment. Please follow the links below to access the MRI General Safety Form required for your upcoming MRI appointment. If you are having a breast, cardiovascular (heart), gynecologic or prostate MRI, please complete the appropriate specialized form in addition to the general form.
Please notify our staff when scheduling and checking in for your appointment if any of the following apply to you:
- If you have any type of electrical, mechanical, or surgical implant within you, such as:
- Breast tissue expanders
- Brain aneurysm clips or coils
- Cochlear implant
- Heart defibrillators
- Intrauterine device (IUD)
- Metal implants or prosthesis
- Neuro-stimulators and transmitters
- Penile implants
- Programmable ventricular shunts
- If you have a history of kidney disease, especially if you are on dialysis.
- If there is any possibility that you are pregnant.
- If you are allergic to gadolinium contrast or have experienced a life-threatening reaction to any medication in the past.
- If you are claustrophobic or think that you will be unable to lie still while inside the scanning machine.
- If you need an interpreter to assist you with your native language.
Arrive at the time of your appointment. Weill Cornell Imaging at NewYork-Presbyterian is limiting the number of patients in our offices at any one time. Patients who arrive early may be asked to return at the time they are scheduled.
Unless needed for physical assistance or to translate for you, visitors are not allowed to accompany patients at any of our practices. For pediatric patients, one parent may accompany a child.
What should I wear to my appointment?
Wearing the right clothing may eliminate the need for you to change into a gown prior to your exam.
- Wear lounge wear, pajamas, or loose-fitting cotton or linen clothing without metal embellishment.
- Do not wear clothing or undergarments with metal fasteners, zippers, hooks, under wires or other metal components.
- Do not wear compression-wear or tight fitting spandex. Many brands of fitness clothing have metal woven into their fabrics making them unsafe to wear during an MRI exam.
- Please leave items such as watches and jewelry at home.
Do I need to fast before my exam?
Depending on the type of exam you are having, you may need to fast before your exam. If you have questions in regards to your fasting instructions, please contact us to coordinate medication and diet prior to exam.
- Abdomen exams: No food or liquids two (2) hours prior to the exam.
- Pelvis and Enterography exams: No food or liquids four (4) hours prior to the exam.
- Gynecologic exams: No food or liquids six (6) hours prior to the exam.
What should I bring with me on the day of my appointment?
- A copy of the prescription for your examination if it was given to you.
- Your insurance information.
- A completed exam form if you did not already email it to us.
- A list of your current medications.
What can I expect on the day of my appointment?
All of our imaging practices have procedures in place to ensure the safety of our patients and staff. These include:
- Increased cleaning and disinfection protocols for all equipment and surfaces in all common and clinical areas and between each appointment.
- Hand sanitizer and appropriate disinfecting wipes in each clinical area.
- Managing patient schedules and waiting rooms to ensure appropriate social distancing.
- Universal mask policy for patients, visitors and staff.
All patients and visitors are clinically screened upon arrival including a temperature check.
Patient verification is an important part of your safety and you will be asked to verify your identification and your exam several times during your appointment. Our check-in staff will review your completed registration forms with you.
For many exams you will not have to change into a gown unless you are wearing something that contains metal (see guidelines above). Some exams do require that you are in a gown. You will be asked to remove and place your electronic devices, wallet, credit cards, metro card, watch, jewelry, belt, hairpins, eyeglasses, hearing aid, or any removable dental pieces into the provided lockers.
Some MRI examinations require the use of intravenous (IV) contrast material. If contrast is required, a skilled nurse or technologist will start an IV line in the arm or hand prior to the examination. The IV will be removed immediately afterward.
Before you enter the MRI scanning room, a technologist will review the safety questionnaire with you. We understand that this may seem redundant but your safety is our first priority. Once the technologist is assured that it is safe to proceed, he or she will escort you into the scanning room and onto the MRI table.
How is an MRI performed?
- You will lie on a table that slides into the scanner.
- The MRI staff will be in an adjacent room where the scanner controls are located. However, you will be in constant sight of the staff through a window. Speakers inside the scanner will enable the staff to hear you and communicate with you. You will have a call bell so that allows you to let the staff know if there are any problems during the procedure.
- During the scanning process, clicking and banging noises will sound as the magnetic field is created and pulses of radio waves are sent from the scanner. You may be given headphones to wear to help block out the noises from the MRI scanner and hear any messages or instructions from the technologist. Depending on the type of exam you are having, you may have the option to listen to music or watch a movie with an MRI-safe audio/video system.
- It is important that you remain very still during the examination. This will allow for clear images and will help us complete your test as quickly as possible.
- At intervals, you may be instructed to hold your breath, or to not breathe, for a few seconds, depending on the body part being examined. You will then be told when to resume normal breaths. You should not have to hold your breath for longer than a few seconds, so this should not be uncomfortable but please let us know if you experience any difficulty.
- Upon completion, the technologist will escort you outside of the scanning room where you will retrieve your personal belongings and proceed to check-out.
For a video overview of the MRI experience, click here or visit the video library page.
Our staff is available to address any questions or concerns that you might have before, during, or after your appointment. Please call (212) 746-6000 if you wish to speak with us.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
What is Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)?
MRI is a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of a large magnet, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.
How does an MRI scan work?
The MRI machine is a large, cylindrical (tube-shaped) machine that creates a strong magnetic field around the patient. The magnetic field, along with a radiofrequency, temporarily alters the hydrogen atoms' natural alignment in the body. Computers are then used to form a two-dimensional (2D) image of a body structure or organ based on the activity of the hydrogen atoms. Cross-sectional views can be obtained to reveal further details. MRI does not use radiation, as do x-rays or computed tomography (CT scans). Because radiation is not used, there is no risk of exposure to radiation during an MRI procedure.
A magnetic field is created and pulses of radio waves are sent from a scanner. The radio waves knock the nuclei of the atoms in your body out of their normal position. As the nuclei realign back into proper position, they send out radio signals. These signals are received by a computer that analyzes and converts them into an image of the part of the body being examined. This image appears on a viewing monitor. Some MRI machines look like narrow tunnels, while others are more open.
Due to the use of the strong magnet, MRI cannot be performed on patients with implanted pacemakers, some intracranial aneurysm clips, cochlear implants, certain prosthetic devices, implanted drug infusion pumps, neurostimulators, bonegrowth stimulators, certain intrauterine contraceptive devices, or any other type of iron-based metal implants. MRI also may not be possible with the presence of internal metallic objects such as bullets or shrapnel, clips, pins, plates, screws, metal sutures, or wire mesh. Dyes used in tattoos may contain iron and potentially could heat up during an MRI, but this is a rare occurrence.
Newer uses and indications for MRI have contributed to the development of additional magnetic resonance technology. Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) is a procedure used to evaluate blood flow through arteries in a noninvasive (the skin is not pierced) manner. MRA can also be used to detect aneurysms within the brain and vascular malformations (abnormalities of blood vessels within the brain, spinal cord, or other parts of the body).