magnetic resonance imaging mri

Day of MRI

What to expect from your MRI procedure in Simi Valley

Here are a few tips to help you come prepared to the MRI center, as well as some information about what to expect after you arrive for your MRI.

At home

  • Arrange for a ride to and from the MRI center if you are planning to take a sedative to help you relax during your procedure.
  • If you wish, choose a favorite CD to bring with you to listen to during your procedure.
  • If you are taking a sedative to help you relax during your procedure, follow your doctor's orders regarding when and how to take the medication.
  • Plan your day so you can arrive a full 30 minutes before your MRI appointment time.

At the MRI center

Please arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment time. The first several minutes of your visit will be spent preparing for the procedure, including taking important safety precautions.

Preparing for the procedure

  • The MRI technologist will take you into a private room to confirm pertinent information about you and your health and to go over the MRI screening questions with you one last time to help assure your safety during the procedure.
  • Because of the strong magnetic field generated by the MRI, you will be asked to empty your pockets and remove any metallic items you're wearing, including eyeglasses, watch and jewelry. You may store personal belongs in a secure locker in the MRI department during your scan.
  • If your clothing contains metal, including zippers, snaps or hooks, you will need to change into a hospital gown.
  • You will have the opportunity to give us the CD you brought from home to listen to during your procedure, choose a CD from our collection or request a radio station to listen to. You will be given earphones to hear the music and to communicate with the MRI technologist during your scan.
  • The technologist will help you get situated on the scanner table. During the scan, you will lie on your back on the padded table with a cushion under your knees. The cushion will help make you more comfortable by relieving pressure on your lower back.

During the procedure

  • For most procedures, the patient goes into the MRI machine head-first, and the lower part of the body remains completely outside the machine. If you are having an MRI of your foot, knee or leg, you will go into the machine feet first, and your head and upper body will remain outside the machine.
  • When the procedure begins, the table you are lying on will rise and slide into a flared, tubelike cylinder that is wider on both ends than it is in the middle. This tube never closes. (Click here to read more.)
  • You will need to lie still on the table for 30–45 minutes. However, the scan is divided into a number of sequences, so you will be able to stretch or move slightly between sequences, although it is very important that you remain in the same position on the table. Please tell the technologist when you are going to move so the next scan sequence will not be blurred by your movement.
  • While a scan is underway, you will hear a repetitive knocking sound, but no part of the machine will ever touch you. You will not feel any discomfort from the procedure. When you hear the sound, the MRI images are being produced, so you must lie as still as you possibly can during this time.
  • If the knocking sound bothers you, you can ask the technologist to raise the volume of the music in your headphones.