Radiology – MRI Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Magnetic resonance imaging, better known as MRI, is a powerful tool that can see inside the body without radiation. It combines magnetic fields, radio waves and computer software to create two-dimensional and three-dimensional images.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Our MRI team includes skilled technologists and board-certified, subspecialty-trained radiologists. We provide high-quality imaging and personal care for each patient.

Both adults and children can have MRIs. They are used to examine areas such as the:

At Penn State Health Radiology we have MRI scanners that vary in their magnetic field strengths. This lets us make the best quality image for each patient. Our scanners also have the largest openings available, to ensure that our patients are comfortable. For patients who find the MRI process difficult, we can schedule the exam to take place under anesthesia.

Some MRIs are done with contrast. If you have questions about this process, please ask your doctor.


MRI is not for everyone. You should tell the technologist if you have:

  • Kidney problems
  • A pacemaker
  • Aneurysm clips in your brain
  • Inner ear implants
  • Metal fragments in one or both eyes
  • An implanted spinal cord stimulator
  • A history of an allergic reaction to contrast
  • Any signs you are or may be pregnant

Be sure to leave all valuables at home. Metal objects and items with magnetic strips such as credit cards are not allowed in the MRI room. You’ll need to remove hairpins, jewelry, glasses, hearing aids, underwire bras and any removable dental work. Our care team will give you a personal locker where you can secure a purse or wallet.

If you are having anesthesia, one of our radiology registered nurses will contact you a week before your exam. He or she will tell you how to prepare and when to arrive for your exam. Please make sure to arrange for a ride home, as you will be unable to drive after receiving the medication.


You will lie on a comfortable padded table, and you may listen to music through headphones during the scan.

If you are having anesthesia, a board-certified anesthesiologist will give you the medication. In most cases this will be propofol, which keeps you asleep during the test and allows you to wake up quickly afterward. Both the anesthesiologist and a registered nurse will monitor you before, during and after the MRI study.

The typical MRI exam takes about 45 minutes.


Most patients who had anesthesia are awake, alert and ready for discharge in 30 to 45 minutes after their MRI scan. Some patients may feel drowsy throughout the day, and some may feel irritable as well. These side effects should only last a short time.