MRI, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, is a safe and painless imaging technique that uses radiofrequency waves and a magnetic field to produce detailed images of the body.
MRI allows your doctor to see images of your internal organs and structures in great detail from many different angles. The advanced technology is a valuable tool for diagnosing conditions and abnormalities that might not be seen on traditional x-rays or other tests.
MRA, Magnetic Resonance Angiography, is a specialized MRI that produces detailed images of the blood vessels and blood flow in the brain and body.
MRA can detect areas of vessel narrowing or blockage, aneurysms and other blood vessel disorders.
Scheduling an MRI/MRA
To schedule your MRI/MRA, contact the Medical Imaging Scheduling Department at 412.942.8150. When you call to schedule your appointment, please have your prescription and any required authorization numbers available. MRI/MRA services are available at the following locations:
St. Clair Hospital
1000 Bower Hill Road
Mondays through Fridays: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
St. Clair Hospital Outpatient Center
St. Clair Hospital MRI Center
(formerly South Hills Magnetic Imaging Institute)
Mondays through Fridays: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
To schedule a Medical Imaging appointment at any of our locations please call 412.942.8150.
How Do I Prepare for the MRI/MRA Exam?
- Most MRI exams do not require any special preparation.
- You may eat normally and take your daily medications prior to your exam, unless instructed otherwise
- When you arrive, you will be asked to change into patient scrubs or a gown and will need to remove any metal objects from your body, including your watch, jewelry, body piercings, glasses and all other metal items. You will be assigned a locker to hold your personal belongings.
- Please leave valuables and jewelry at home
- Some MRI and MRA exams require the use of Gadolinium, an intravenous contrast agent. Gadolinium has a very low risk of adverse reactions. Patients with iodine allergies can be safely scanned.
- If you have a history of renal impairment, diabetes or hypertension, you will need to obtain a blood test (GFR) to determine if your kidneys are functioning well enough to receive Gadolinium. Please have your blood testing done at least 48 hours prior to your MRI/MRA appointment.
What Will Happen During the MRI/MRA Exam?
- You will be asked to lie on a table that slides into the MRI scanner.
- During your scan the technologist will monitor you through a large window and communicate with you via intercom during the exam
- All MRI/MRA scanners generate some vibrations and make some knocking and pinging noises while they are acquiring the images
- Ear plugs or headphones for noise reduction are available for your use
- You must hold still while the MRI is being performed, as any movement will cause the images to be out of focus and the test may need to be repeated.
- Most MRI/MRA studies require 30-45 minutes to complete
What Will Happen After the MRI/MRA Exam?
Our staff of board-certified radiologists will review the images and a report will be sent to your personal physician, and he or she will discuss the results with you. If your physician has requested copies of your MRI/MRA images on a compact disc, please inform the technologist before you leave.
After your MRI/MRA, you may resume your normal activities.
Is It Safe to Have an MRI?
When you schedule your appointment you will be asked a series of screening questions to determine if there is anything that may prevent you from having an MRI.
It is not safe for you to have an MRI if you have any of the following:
- Implanted defibrillators
- Cochlear implant
- Breast tissue expander
- Metallic fragments in your eyes
- Surgical clips from surgeries in the prior six weeks
Some things may or may not be compatible with MRI. Our medical staff will determine if it is safe for you to have an MRI if you have any of the following:
- Spinal cord stimulator
- Aneurysm clips
- Metallic implants
- Surgical staples or clips
- Prosthetic heart valves
- Recent surgery or procedure
- Medication patches
- Non-removable body piercings
See our Physician Directory for more information about a doctor.