Frequently Asked Questions

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What Is MRI?

MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. An MRI offers a safe and efficient method for medical diagnosis of many conditions, without the use of harmful x-rays. In many cases, MRI can lead to early detection and treatment of disease without surgery or biopsy. It is a non-invasive method of examining the soft tissue of the body including organs, muscles and tendons.

Is MRI safe?

The strength of the magnetic field and the frequency of the radio waves have no known harmful effects. However, there are some patients who cannot have an MRI test due to certain metallic and/or electronic implanted devices. Not all metallic implants are contraindicated for MRI. You will be thoroughly screened prior to your exam to determine your safety.

I have heard that MRI's can make you feel anxious and/or claustrophobic?

Thumb MRI is the area’s largest, most comfortable and shortest Wide Open Bore MRI and reflects our commitment to patient-focused care. Many exams can be completed going in feet first. Patients who cannot tolerate the closeness of a traditional MRI, tend to feel more comfortable and less claustrophobic in our MRI. Our staff gives special care to claustrophobic and anxious patients. 

Does My Size Matter?

Our Wide Open Bore MRI system is built to accommodate patients up to 450 lbs+. We will assist in making you feel as comfortable as possible during your exam.

Do I need an order/referral from my doctor?

In order to perform the study we need an order/referral from your physician. Your doctor will provide us with the necessary information to perform your MRI.

How do I prepare for an MRI? 

Preparing for an MRI scan is very easy. You can take all your normal medications unless your physician gives you special instructions. In many cases you will not have any eating or drinking restrictions. Exceptions to this rule will be explained thoroughly when your appointment is confirmed. We do ask that you take the following precautions for your own personal safety to ensure we get the best possible images:

• Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. You may be asked to change into a gown, as clothes may have metallic fasteners or metallic fibers that may interfere with imaging. 

• You may need to remove eyeglasses, jewelry, hearing aids or any removable dental work. 

• For your convenience, we provide a changing suite with a locker to store your personal belongings during your MRI scan. Any unnecessary valuables should be left at home.

What happens during an MRI Scan?

You will be asked to lie down on the scanning table, usually on your back. We will make you comfortable with the aid of pillows, blankets and sponges. A MRI coil is placed around the part of the body to be scanned. This acts as an antenna that sends and receives signals from the body part. MRI is motion sensitive so you will be asked to lie still during your MRI. The technologist will be in contact with you throughout the exam through a two-way intercom system. You will also be given a “squeeze ball" that will notify the technologist at any time. 

Will I hear any noise during the scan?

Once the machine starts you will hear a gentle tapping sound. Our system has software that reduces the noise during your MRI. We will also provide you with headphones with your choice of music from our vast collection. 

What do I need to tell the technologist before the scan?

Advise the technologist of any previous surgeries, implanted device, or any reactions to previous MRI or CT contrast, and all history specific to your MRI exam.

How soon will my doctor receive the results of my MRI?

Your doctor will receive faxed results within 24 hours. Your MRI will be read by a Board Certified radiologist who is specialized MRI. If you would like a copy sent to another doctor or would like your own copy, inform our receptionists at the time of your exam.

Are there any reasons I should not have an MRI scan done?

At Thumb MRI, we pride ourselves in providing the highest standards for patient safety. Because of the potentially harmful effects associated with some metal objects in a magnetic field, you should check with your physician or our highly experienced staff if you have had any brain, heart, eye, ear or other surgeries.

Also, if you have any of the following, please let your physician and our staff know: 

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• Metal implants 

• Surgical staples 

• Foreign metal objects in eye, or removed from eye 

• If you were/are a sheet metal worker/machinist 

• Have shrapnel, bullets or bullet wounds lodged in your body 

• If you are pregnant 



If you have any of the following implants, you may not be able to have an MRI 

  • Pacemaker

  • Neuro-stimulator

  • Ferrous intracranial clips

  • Implanted drug infusion device

What if I'm pregnant?

MRI is not usually recommended for women in their first trimester. Although there are no known side effects from MRI, your referring physician, OB/GYN and our radiologist will decide whether an MRI is warranted.

What is Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA)?

MR Angiography is used to generate images of the arteries to evaluate them for stenosis, occlusion, malformations or aneurysms. The most common MR Angiograms ordered are of the carotid and vertebral arteries of the head and neck but MRA’s can also be performed on other major arteries such as the Renal and Femoral arteries. 

Can I tell my physician where I would like to have my MRI scheduled?

Yes, you can let your physician know that you would like your exam done at Thumb MRI Center. Our MRI scanner offers high-quality images, noise reduction software, and accommodates larger patients in a spacious environment that puts claustrophobic/anxious patients at ease. Our staff is dedicated to making your MRI experience the most comfortable. 

You will also have the added confidence that your MRI performed at Thumb MRI was read by a Board Certified radiologist. 

Will the cost of my exam be covered by my insurance plan?

Most insurance plans cover the cost for MRI exams. If you have any billing or insurance questions, please contact our in-house billing specialists directly at 989.872.8070 Ext. 3.