MRI Diagnostic Imaging Tests

Why choose Beaumont for your MRI?

Beaumont is committed to providing the most convenient and highest quality MRI imaging services for patients and their physicians. We offer:

  • ease of scheduling with same-day or next-day appointments
  • six convenient imaging locations with MRI in Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties
  • board certified Beaumont radiologists to interpret your results as if their life depended on it, too
  • the latest generation of imaging technology that produces the clearest images
  • highly trained technologists to ensure your comfort and safety
  • an integrated electronic medical records system that allows your physician to see your images within minutes of the test - and provides easy access to those images to other health care providers involved in your future care

What is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)?

MRI diagnostic imaging is a non-invasive test that uses a large magnet, pulses of radiofrequency waves, and a computer to create detailed images of organs and structures within your body. Physicians use MRI imaging to diagnose conditions that may not be adequately assessed using other imaging methods such as X-ray, ultrasound or CT scan.

An MRI is often used to:

  • examine the heart, brain, spine, nerves, abdominal organs, breasts, reproductive organs and other soft tissues
  • assess blood vessels for clots and areas of narrowing
  • detect tumors and diagnose many forms of cancer
  • evaluate infections
  • assess injuries to bones, joints and muscles
  • guide radiologists when obtaining biopsies

How does an MRI scan work?

MRI procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis or as part of inpatient care. The MRI machine is a large, tube-shaped machine that a patient enters for a short time while lying comfortably on an exam table.

Unlike X-rays and CT scans, the MRI does not use radiation. Here's how the MRI works:

  • A magnetic field is created and pulses of radio waves are sent from a scanner.
  • Your body is made of tiny bits of matter called atoms; at the center of each atom is a nucleus. The radio waves move the nuclei of the atoms in your body out of their normal position.
  • As the nuclei realign into proper position, they send out radio signals.
  • The signals are received by a computer that converts them into an image that appears to be a thin slice of the part of the body being examined.
  • A radiologist (a board certified physician who specializes in reading images) creates a report and sends the information to your physician.

What will I experience during my MRI at Beaumont?

At Beaumont, the MRI procedure generally follows this process:

  • Before you have any medical imaging procedure, you should discuss the risks and benefits associated with the test with your physician.
  • You will be asked to remove any clothing, jewelry or other metal objects that may interfere with the procedure. If you are asked to remove clothing, you will be given a gown to wear.
  • A radiology technologist will position you on the MRI exam table. Likely, you will be lying flat on your back. Straps, foam braces or pillows may be used to help you maintain the correct position during the test.
  • The MRI tech will be in another room where the scanner controls are located. However, you will be in constant sight of the tech through a window.
  • Speakers inside the MRI scanner help the tech communicate with you. You will also have a call button to let the tech know if you have any problems during the test.
  • During the diagnostic test, there will be a clicking noise in the machine as the magnetic field is created and pulses of radio waves are sent from the scanner. You will be given headphones to block out the noises from the MRI scanner and to help you hear any messages or instructions from the tech.
  • It is important that you remain very still during the examination.
  • Depending on the body part being scanned, you may have to hold your breath for short periods of time.
  • If contrast is used for your imaging procedure, initial images will be taken. Then, contrast will be injected in an intravenous line; a second set of images will then be obtained.
  • If you have claustrophobia (a fear of enclosed spaces), you can ask to have the test done on a machine with a wider, shorter tube. Additionally, sedative medication or anesthesia can be administered. Talk about these options with your physician before scheduling your exam.
  • Your Beaumont doctor will have access to the images and the radiologist's interpretation and will share the results with you.

Preparing for an MRI Scan

Personal Medication Record (PDF)

MRI Patient Screening (PDF)
For all patients receiving an MRI exam

MRI Examination Questionnaire (PDF)
For patients receiving an MRI specifically for cervical spine, thoracic spine, lumbar spine, entire spine, sacral spine, neck, soft tissue neck, carotids, neck MRA, sacral/lumbar/cervical plexus, brain or skull