Meet Jeremy, MRI patient

No matter the sport, the elbow is essential to being an active player. Jeremy, a baseball and football athlete was at the point where he couldn't do anything with his elbow. An MRI allowed doctors to see cross-sectional images of his bone, showing a lesion that was causing the pain. After an entire year of recovering on the sidelines, Jeremy is back in the game.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) produces images of the body's internal structures by passing radio waves through a powerful magnetic field. Differing frequencies of radio waves are produced by the different body structures, in return, and these are mapped and converted into digital images by a computer. MRI is especially good for imaging soft tissues in the body, including the brain, nerves, muscles and organs.

For more information on this and other radiology procedures, please visit

» Meet our Team of Diagnostic Radiologists
» Meet our Team of Pediatric Radiologists

Since you will be positioned within a large, very strong magnet, you must remove all loose metal objects. Doing so is important for your safety as well as that of our staff, and for proper functioning of the equipment. You may be asked to change into a gown unless you are wearing clothing that is metal-free. You will need to complete a detailed screening sheet, on which you will be asked whether or not you have any metal or other devices implanted in your body that may interfere with the scan or cause injury to you. If you have any concerns or questions about that aspect of the procedure, please ask the technologist before you enter the room. We also will be happy to answer your questions by telephone at any time before your appointment. Some types of scans require fasting beforehand. You will be instructed if fasting is necessary for your procedure. Patients not receiving sedation should arrive 30 minutes prior to your exam time in order to register. If your procedure has been scheduled with sedation or anesthesia, please arrive 1 hour prior to exam for sedation to be administered at the hospital or radiology office. Do not take prescribed sedation medications until after paperwork has been filled out and you are instructed to do so by the technologist. If you have any questions about your medications, please call the center where you are being scanned and ask to speak with a technologist. All patients receiving sedation must have someone with them to drive them home after the procedure.

Please let us know if you have any of the following:

  • Cardiac Pacemaker
  • Artificial heart valve prosthesis
  • Eye Implants or metal ear implants
  • Any metal implants activated electronically, magnetically, or mechanically
  • Aneurysm clips
  • Copper 7 IUD
  • Penile implant
  • Shrapnel or non-removed bullet
  • Pregnancy
  • Claustrophobia
  • Any metal puncture(s) or fragment(s) in the eye

During an MRI scan, you will lie comfortably on your back on a table that is moved inside a large magnet. A piece of equipment called a "coil," which sends and receives the radio frequency waves used in this technology, will be placed around the area being examined. During the scan, as with all MRI exams, you will hear various noises, ranging from a buzzing to a loud knocking. You will be given earplugs to diminish the noise.

Because an MRI exam takes images or "slices" from various angles, several sequences or sets of images will be taken. Each sequence will last from one to 10 minutes, and the technologist will inform you before the scanning noise begins. The total exam time for a scan can range from 30 to 60 minutes. You must lie very still during each sequence, in order to produce clear, diagnostic images.

Depending on your symptoms or prior medical history you may be given an intravenous contrast medium for your scan. The technologist will explain this procedure to you if necessary.

There are two types of MRI scans: Open MRI and Closed MRI. Many of our closed MRI machines today have a short bore, meaning they are smaller in size and less intimidating to patients who fear small areas. Our MRI technologists have great success working with minimally claustrophobic patients using the short bore MRI machines. The weight limit for our closed MRI is 350 lbs.

Open MRI machines are a great option for patients with claustrophobia, as there is a large portion of the scanner that is actually open. The magnet strength is about half that of a closed MRI though (.7 Tesla magnet strength in an open MRI compared to 1.5 Tesla magnet strength in many closed MRI machines), so the image quality is a little less than that of a closed MRI. The weight limit for our Open MRI is 450 lbs., which is greater than the closed units.

Silent Scan, technology that makes an MRI as silent as a whisper, is available at our, Carolinas Imaging Services - Ballantyne location.

To learn more about Silent Scan, please visit the GE Healthcare Silent Scan website
Typically your referring physician will schedule an appointment for you. If you have been asked to schedule the appointment yourself, please have your physician's order and any pre-authorization information required by your insurance or health plan provider in hand, and call 704-442-4390 ext. 1.