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Magnetic resonance imaging uses a magnetic field to create an image of the body. One of our Radiologists with special training and expertise in MRI uses this image to identify and diagnose many conditions in different parts of the body. There are many reasons your doctor may order an MRI. Chest MRIs, Head MRIs, and Neck/Spine MRIs are a few types of MRI that your doctor may order.

What is it like to have an MRI? How do I prepare for an MRI?

An American College of Radiology Accredited Facility - Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Cambridge Health Alliance has received three-year accreditation in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) from the American College of Radiology (ACR). MRI is a noninvasive medical test that uses magnetic fields to produce images of internal body parts to help doctors diagnose and treat medical conditions. CHA offers MRI services at both Cambridge Hospital and Whidden Hospital in Everett. The ACR gold seal of accreditation indicates the highest levels of image quality and patient safety. It is awarded to facilities that meet national Practice Guidelines and Technical Standards and undergo a rigorous evaluation by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field. This includes an assessment of image quality, personnel qualifications, adequacy of equipment, quality control procedures and quality assurance programs. CHA earned accreditation for all head, spine, musculoskeletal and vascular, body and breast exams.

Cambridge Health Alliance has received three-year accreditation in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) from the American College of Radiology (ACR).

What is it like to have an MRI?

The MRI is painless. During the procedure, you will need to lie still for 30-90 minutes in the machine, which looks like a hollow tube. The length of the test will depend on the part of the body being scanned and the reason and the test is being done. You may be injected with an agent to help highlight a certain part of the body. These agents do not contain iodine and are unlikely to cause allergic reactions

You will lie down on a table that will slowly move into the machine. Once you are settled in, the technologist will step out of the room. You will still be able to talk to them through a microphone. If you get nervous or have any concerns, let the technologist know.

You will need to lie still the whole time the test is being done. You will not feel anything, but may hear tapping or gentle thumping as the machine works. These sounds are normal. After the test is finished, the technologist will bring the table back out of the machine. They will then review the images and let you know that is it all right to leave. The images will be interpreted by the MRI Radiologist, who will send the results to your doctor to review.

MRI is a painless test that most people tolerate well. Some people who are anxious or afraid of tight spaces will want to discuss this with their doctor. There are a number of options, including earplugs, special glasses, and sedatives. You may have a friend or family member in the room with you.

It is important to tell the technician if you have any metal or electronic devices implanted in your body, as these may affect the image. You shouldn't undergo an MRI if you have a pacemaker, defibrillator, or other implanted life-support equipment, as the MRI may interfere with their functioning. Pregnant women should also talk with your doctor before having an MRI scan. When in doubt, ask your doctor or MRI technician.

How do I prepare for an MRI?

Unless your doctor has told you otherwise, go about your normal activities, including eating and taking necessary medications. When you take the test, you will be asked to remove all jewelry and accessories, including hearing aids or dentures. You will need to wear clothing without metal parts.

Radiology infoFor additional information about your test please visit the RadiologyInfo website.

Referral information for physicians

You can make a referral for your patients by calling 617-665-1298.

Contact Us
Cambridge Hospital Campus
1493 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02139

Outpatient Hours:

Monday-Friday: 7:30am–8:00pm

Whidden Hospital Campus
103 Garland St
Everett, MA 02149

Outpatient Hours:

Monday-Friday: 7:30am–8:00pm

To Schedule an Appointment:
Phone:  617-665-1298

Please note: to schedule an appointment, you must have a referral order from a primary care physician.