What to Expect Before, During, & After An Open MRI Scan

Before your first MRI scan, it is essential to know how to prepare and what to expect before, during, and after the procedure. Although MRI scans sound daunting, it is actually one of the safest medical procedures performed. At Medical Imaging Express, we use an open MRI machine. This gives patients relief from claustrophobia as well as a sharper diagnosis accuracy. 

What is an MRI scan?

According to Coral Desert Imaging Center, an MRI scan, which stands for magnetic resonance imaging, is a medical procedure used to detect and diagnose various medical conditions affecting soft tissue structures and organs in the body. MRI uses radio waves and magnetic fields to provide images of particular parts of the body. It is also important to know that there is no exposure to x-ray radiation during MRI scans. Joint injuries or joint pains, as well as spinal injuries, are one of the most common conditions when conducting an MRI scan. 

Before the MRI Procedure

Not much needs to be done before your MRI procedure. You may eat and take medications normally before your scan unless your doctor recommends otherwise. According to University Hospitals, a non-iodine contrast medication may be injected into your vein. This is so the tissues show up more clearly and allow for a better picture. You will also be asked to remove any metal objects before the scan. This includes watches, rings, hearing aids, etc. Let the doctor know if there are any metal objects inside of your body such as staples from recent surgery, pacemaker, and metal plates. You will be asked to change into a gown for the procedure.

During the MRI Procedure

During the MRI scan, it is important to lie still. This is so the image is clear and does not come out distorted. Most scans usually take about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the body part. However, if it is a more serious injury, the scan could take up to 60 minutes. Because we use open MRI, you are able to see and interact with the surroundings, making the process more comfortable and convenient. Along with this, our open MRI is also quieter than a normal MRI system. This allows patients to wear headphones during the scan or be able to talk to whoever is in the room during the procedure, like caregivers or parents. Comfort is our number one priority for our patients during this procedure. Overall, this process is easy and stress-free.

After the MRI Procedure

Once the procedure is over, there is really nothing else to do until the examinations of the images are complete. The doctor will ask you to change out of your gown and will let you know if there is anything else needed. The doctors will then take the pictures taken during the MRI scan and go over them to determine the area of concern. It is important to listen to the doctor’s orders after the procedure, to not cause any more damage or stress to the body. However, most of the time you may go back to your usual routine immediately. If you are anxious about getting your results back, you may ask how long it’ll take until you hear from them and if there is anything you need to do in the meantime.


Although there are many misleading connotations when it comes to MRI scans, your comfort and safety are our first priorities. We make this experience as easy as possible for you so you can go back to enjoying your everyday life. If you are interested in learning more about our open MRI scans, feel free to head over to our website for more information and to schedule an appointment with us. If you have any further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to help with any further information. We hope to see you soon!