OSF St. Joseph Medical Center

Bloomington, Illinois

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

You have been scheduled to have an MRI Scan. This is a diagnostic test using radio waves and a magnetic field to provide detailed images of particular parts of your body.  There is no exposure to x-ray radiation.

The scanner looks like a long hollow tube. You will be asked to lie down on a padded table that will move through the MRI scanner.

The MRI technologist will explain the procedure to you and answer any questions you may have.

Preparing for Your Test

You may receive contrast as part of the test. Contrast is something given to show a part of the body on an X-ray. The contrast in this test is called Gadolinium.

If your test is scheduled without contrast, there are no special instructions or diet restrictions for your test. For tests scheduled with contrast, you should have nothing to eat or drink two hours before your test. 

The MRI scanner has a weight limit of 500 pounds. If you weigh more than 500 pounds, please contact your physician’s office. An alternative test, or an “open” MRI, will have to be considered.

What To Bring With You

You may have had x-rays (x-rays, CT scans, or MRI’s) done at another hospital. Please bring copies of the films or a CD with you the day of your test. You may also request for your doctor’s office to send the films or results to OSF St. Joseph before your test.

Please bring a list of all of the medications you take, include the dose you take and how often you take it. Please include all over-the-counter medications on your list.

Please take all of your scheduled medications unless you have been given other instructions by your physician.


Please remove all jewelry and/or piercings prior to your test. All metal objects outside your body must be removed before entering the scan room. Examples include jewelry, watches, coins, clothing with zippers or snaps, belt buckles, bobby pins, hearing aids, and dentures. 


If you have any known allergies to Gadolinium, please contact your ordering doctor. 

Inform the staff if you have an allergy to Latex.

Pregnancy Testing Policy

It is the policy of OSF St. Joseph to verify pregnancy status on all female patients having an MRI exam. This policy is to avoid potential harm to an unborn baby as a result of the radiation or medications given during the exam.

A pregnancy test is required prior to the procedure listed above. It should be ordered by your physician if you are a female between the ages of 10 and 55, and have not had a hysterectomy or bilateral oophorectomy. Home pregnancy tests are not acceptable.

If you are pregnant, please notify your physician.


You will be asked several safety questions prior to your test. Please contact the MRI Department or your physician’s office if you have any of the following:

  • Brain aneurysm clips
  • Cardiac pacemaker and/or defibrillator
  • Implanted nerve stimulation devices
  • If you have ever had any metal removed from your eyes
  • Any injury involving bullets or BB’s
  • Cochlear implant
  • Cozmo insulin pump
  • Magnetically activated implants of any kind

The technologist will go through a safety checklist prior to your scan. You will be able to ask the MRI technologist any additional questions you may have at that time.

During the MRI scan, it is very important for you to hold still. The quality of pictures is affected by any movement. If you are claustrophobic or have a medical condition that makes it uncomfortable for you to hold still for 45-60 minutes, please contact your physician. You will need to discuss alternative tests or sedation options with your physician. We do not give patients sedation in the MRI Department, unless special arrangements have been made through your physician. 


You may be asked to switch into a hospital gown if you are wearing clothing containing metal (examples include zippers, snaps, or bras). We will ask you to empty all your pockets to check for metal objects.

Your test will take approximately 45-60 minutes. The exact time depends on the exam being performed.

The MRI technologist will position you on the MRI table and will position coils around the area being examined.

If your test is ordered with contrast, an IV will be started in your arm. The contrast will be injected by the MRI tech during the exam. The IV will be removed before you leave.

During your exam the MRI tech may give you special breathing instructions. You may be required to hold your breath for about 15 seconds.

What to Expect

Please arrive 30 minutes prior to your scheduled test, unless told differently at scheduling. Check in through admitting located at Entrance A. Admitting will then direct you to ultrasound.

Results & Recovery

You may leave once the MRI is completed, unless special arrangements have been made for sedation. There are no diet or activity restrictions.

Test Results

Your test will be read by a Radiologist (doctor specializing in medical imaging). Results will be available to your physician’s office within 24 hours; but it may take some time for your physician to review your results. You will need to make arrangements with your ordering doctor on how to receive your test results (such as follow-up doctor appointment, calling the doctor’s office, etc.).


To schedule or cancel an appointment, please call (309) 661-5160. The hours are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.  We do need to have a valid order from a physician to schedule an appointment.