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MRI & MRA

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) are high definition imaging techniques that use a strong magnetic field and radio waves. The information from the scanner is sent to a computer that changes it into a diagnostic image. MRI can be used to see any part of the body and MRA is used for arteries and veins.

All patients are required to complete a safety questionnaire to determine if they can be safely scanned. The procedure is well tolerated by most patients; however, some patients are claustrophobic (fear of enclosed spaces) or are unable to hold still (due to pain, nervousness). It is not uncommon for these patients to receive pain medication or sedation from their physician to take prior to their MRI or MRA procedure. Many patients will receive a contrast agent (gadolinium) for their MRI procedure. Contrast is used in some cases routinely, and in other cases to acquire additional information.

Our highly trained and professional staff provide superior patient experience from scheduling of your appointment through the completion of your procedure. SJMHS has six MRI scanners located in Livingston, Washtenaw and Wayne counties, and an open scanner (shown below) located at the Ann Arbor location. We provide all routine and most advanced specialty imaging including Cardiac MRI, Breast MRI and MRI Guided Breast Biopsies.

Oasis Open MRI scanner

Open MRI Scanner Open MRI Scanner

MRI / MRA procedures include:

  • Brain / Head and Neck
  • Cardiac
  • Chest
  • Breast and MRI Guided Breast Biopsies
  • Abdominal and Pelvic
  • Spine
  • Extremities
If you have questions regarding the procedure your physician has ordered, please call (734) 712-4958 7:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. 7 days a week, to be connected with specialized staff who can answer your questions.


Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do before my MRI / MRA Procedure?
Complete a Patient Safety Screening Questionnaire at your physician’s office. These questions provide important information to ensure that you do not have any condition or metal in your body that would prevent you from having an MRI/MRA procedure. Be sure to include any allergies or kidney problems.

If you have a fear of small spaces (claustrophobia) or have difficulty lying still because of pain or other underlying conditions, talk with your physician prior to your MRI/MRA. Your physician may want to prescribe medication for you. The MRI department does not provide any medications. If your physician prescribes sedation for you to take during your MRI/MRA procedure, you must have a driver accompany you to your appointment. If you have any concerns regarding your MRI/MRA, please discuss them with your physician.

How do I prepare for my MRI/MRA procedure?
You will receive a confirmation call two days before your appointment and any preparation instructions will be given during this call.

What can I expect when I arrive for my MRI / MRA appointment?
You will be asked to fill out a history form. This helps us care for you during your visit with us. This information is provided to the radiologist who will review current and historical information related to your clinical condition while interpreting your images. A staff member will review your patient safety screening form and history form with you. We will also explain the procedure to you. You will be asked to remove all metal objects. This may include jewelry, glasses and dentures. If possible leave all metal objects at home. You will be provided hospital attire to wear during your exam to insure your safety and also reduce the risk of problems with the images. This may include a hospital gown or scrub pants. Remember to use the restroom before your MRI, so you can be comfortable during the procedure.

What should I expect during my MRI/MRA procedure?
Each MRI procedure requires specific body positioning and the use of an MRI coil (image information receiver). This will be explained to you during your interview with the MRI staff. Most procedures require a heads first entry in to the magnet (ie, brain, neck, chest, shoulder) while others require feet first entry (foot/ankle, knee, hip, pelvis, abdomen, breast). The MRI scanner is very noisy (loud knocking sound) when we are making images. You will be provided ear protection to minimize this noise. It is important that you hold as still as possible during the scan to ensure the images don’t blur. The more relaxed you are the easier and faster the scan will be.

Will I receive IV contrast for my MRI / MRA procedure?
Some MRI / MRA procedures may require the administration of Intravenous (IV) contrast. A contrast agent is a material or dye used to make specific organs, blood vessels, or types of tissue (such as tumors) more visible on MRI images. Gadolinium is the most commonly used contrast agent. You may experience slight discomfort while the needle is placed if your procedure requires IV contrast.

How long will my MRI / MRA procedure last?
The MRI/MRA procedure generally lasts about 45 minutes. Some procedures are longer in duration and others may be slightly shorter.

What should I expect after my MRI/MRA procedure?
There are no side effects from MRI / MRA procedures. You will be able to resume normal activities immediately following the procedure unless otherwise directed by your physician.

When will I receive my results?
A radiologist will interpret the images and a report will sent to the physician who ordered your procedure. Please follow up with your physician’s office on when and how you will receive the results of your MRI/MRA procedure.

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St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor | 5301 McAuley Drive, Ypsilanti, MI 48197 | 734-712-3456