Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is MRI?

MRI, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging, is one of the safest, most comfortable ways for physicians to obtain clear, detailed pictures of the inside of the human body without the use of X-rays, surgery or biopsy. A strong magnetic field combined with radio waves will produce computerized pictures of your body.

Closed MRISarasota Memorial offers the choice of the traditional "closed" MRI or the "open" MRI. The "open" MRI uses a different type of magnet, along with a state-of-the-art-imaging device, which is open on the sides. This innovation offers many advantages, such as:


Open MRIThe "open" MRI produces diagnostic results, but may not be appropriate for every medical circumstance. Your physician, along with the Radiologist, can decide which MRI scanner will be best suited for your diagnosis.

What can I expect during my MRI exam?
A technologist will help you lie down on a cushioned table where you will remain for the duration of the procedure. He or she will be in constant contact with you during the procedure. You should experience no sensations during the scan, but you will hear a thumping sound. You should relax and lie as still as possible. Any movement during this time will blur the picture. When the exam is done, the technologist will assist you off the table.

Sarasota Memorial has installed the region's first Open Bore magnetic resonance imaging system (MRI) that combines a larger bore, or opening, and the ability to capture high-field quality diagnostic images.

Open Bore MRIThe extra-large MRI accommodates patients of allsizes, including the obese, elderly and children, and is perfect for those who get anxious during an MRI. With one foot of head room, claustrophobic patients will no longer feel like they're nose-to-nose with the top of the magnet. Due to its short design, 60 percent of exams can be done with the patient's head outside of the system.

The Espree can perform advanced clinical applications in less time, because it combines strong gradient performance with 1.5T quality images, so patients can rest easy inside and physicians can rely on a confident diagnosis.

Learn more about our new Open Bore MRI designed to accommodate all types of patients. Quality, Accuracy and Patient Comfort, too!

How long does an MRI take?
Depending on the complexity of the exam, an MRI scan takes an average of 45 - 60 minutes per body part imaged.

Do I need to prepare for the exam?
No special preparation is needed. Eat normally and take medication as usual, unless your physician has given you instructions otherwise. You may find it easier to relax if you avoid drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages before the exam.

Is there any risk?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is very safe. There are no health risks associated with the magnetic field or the radio waves used by the scanner, as long as certain safety criteria are met. It is, therefore, important for you to tell us if any of the following apply to you. Do you have --


If you have answered YES to any of these questions, please call (941)917-7725 and speak to a technologist.

Will I need an injection?
In most cases an MRI exam does not require any injections. In some situations, however, an intravenous contrast material may be required to enhance certain areas of the body. All contrast materials utilized are FDA-approved and considered safe. Very anxious patients and small children may be given a sedative to help them relax and lie still during the exam.

For scheduling and additional information about this service, please call: 941-917-7322

* Please be aware that when you receive radiology services, you are billed for services rendered in part by Sarasota Memorial Health Care System Radiology Services for the actual imaging, as well as SMH Radiology Associates for the interpretation of the images. If you have any questions or concerns about your bill, please feel free to call SMH Radiology Associates Billing Office toll free at 1-866-237-2465 or Sarasota Memorial Patient Financial Services at 941-917-1540 for questions concerning your bills.

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