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TBI : Patients : FAQs

What is MRI?

MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. An MRI offers a safe and efficient method for medical diagnosis of many conditions, without the use of harmful x-rays. In many cases, MRI can lead to early detection and treatment of disease without surgery or biopsy. It is a noninvasive method of examining the soft tissue of the body including organs, muscles and tendons.

What is the difference between MRI and CT Scan?

One of the most basic differences between the two tests is that CT Scanning uses radiation whereas MRI uses a magnetic field and a radio wave. Both disciplines have a purpose in medical imaging however; MRI is superior to CT in the demonstration of soft tissue pathology. Your doctor can best advise which test would be most appropriate for you.

*16 Slice CT only available in our Pinellas Office

Is MRI safe?

The strength of the magnetic field and the frequency of the radio waves have no known harmful effects. However, there are some patients who cannot have an MRI test due to certain metallic and or electronic implanted devices. Not all metallic implants are contraindicated for MRI. You will be thoroughly screened prior to your exam to determine your safety.

Does My Size Matter?

Our MRI systems are built to accommodate patients up to 350+ lbs. We will assist in making you feel as comfortable as possible during your exam.

What should I wear?

Wear comfortable clothing preferably elastic or drawstring pants. Changing rooms with lockers are available along with patient gowns.

Is your MRI open or closed?

At Tampa Bay Imaging, we have a state-of-the-art, short-bore claustrophobic friendly MRI.

How long does an MRI exam take?

The length of your exam depends on the type of study. Most of our exams take less than 30 minutes.

How long does it take for my doctor to get the results?

Our normal turnaround time is 24-48 hours.

Do I need a prescription from my doctor?

In order to perform the study we need a prescription from your physician. Your doctor will provide us with the necessary information to perform the most accurate study.

How do I prepare for an MRI Scan?

The best way is to come metal free wearing loose fitting clothing with no buttons, zippers or metal. Leave all jewelry at home. Should you need to change, we do have changing rooms and lockers for your personal belongings. The technologist will instruct you on what items of clothing you need to remove prior to your exam.

In most cases you will not have any eating or drinking restrictions. Exceptions to this rule will be explained thoroughly when you call to schedule your appointment.

What happens during an MRI Scan?

You will be asked to lie down on the scanning table, usually on your back. We will make you comfortable with the aid of pillows, blankets and sponges. A MRI coil is placed around the part of the body to be scanned. This acts as an antenna that sends and receives signals from the body part. MRI is motion sensitive so you will be asked to lie still during each scan. The technologist will be in contact with you throughout the exam.

Will I hear any noise during the scan?

Once the machine starts you will hear a variety of knocking sounds during each scan. Earplugs are available OR we will provide you with piped in music. You are welcome to bring your own CD! There is a two-way intercom system allowing communication between you and the technologist.

What do I need to tell the technologist before the scan?

When you schedule your exam, you will be screened for MRI safety. Some implanted devises, particularly ones with batteries are contraindications for MRI. Advise the technologist of any previous surgeries, any reactions to previous MRI or CT contrast and all history specific to your exam that day.

How soon will I receive the results of my MRI?

Your doctor will receive faxed results within 24 hours. If you would like a copy sent to another medical practitioner, inform the office at the time of your exam. If you would like a copy of your report, please let the office know and they will mail or fax a copy to you.

Who reads my MRI?

A board certified radiologist is a medical doctor specifically trained to read diagnostic images including X-rays, CT Scans and MRIs. The Radiologists who work for TBI have completed a fellowship in MRI.

Are there any people who cannot, or should not have an MRI? What if I have a pacemaker?

MRI poses no danger to the majority of patients. Certain medical conditions will prevent someone from having an MRI. The strong magnetic field can cause disruption to internally placed devices such as pacemakers, heart valves, aneurysm clips.

Can my child have an MRI?

Yes, your child can have an MRI. With the open MRI system, a parent may stay in the scan room with the child and hold their hand during the scan. This is a great way to relieve any apprehension the child or the parent may have about the procedure.

What if I'm pregnant?

MRI is not usually recommended for women in their first trimester. Although there are no known side effects from MRI, your referring physician, OBGYN and our radiologist will decide whether an MRI is warranted.

What does ACR mean?

The ACR awards accreditation to facilities for the achievement of high practice standards after a peer-review evaluation of its practice. Image quality and procedure evaluations are conducted by board-certified radiologists and medical physicists who are experts in the field. The program also evaluates personnel qualifications, adequacy of facility equipment, quality control procedures and quality assurance programs. All findings are reported to the practice via a comprehensive report that includes recommendations for improvement.


The ACR accredits facilities in the following modalities:

  • Breast ultrasound
  • Computed tomography (CT)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Mammography
  • Nuclear medicine
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)
  • Stereotactic breast biopsy
  • Ultrasound
  • Radiation oncology

When you choose an ACR-accredited facility, you know that:

  • Your hospital, clinic or health center has voluntarily gone through a rigorous review process to be sure it meets nationally-accepted standards
  • The personnel are well qualified, through education and certification, to perform and interpret your medical images and administer your radiation therapy treatments
  • The equipment is appropriate for the test or treatment you will receive, and the facility meets or exceeds quality assurance and safety guidelines


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