Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

What is an MRI?MRI

MRI is an advanced medical imaging technique that uses a magnetic field and radio waves instead of X-ray to create images of different parts of the body. It is an easy, safe and comfortable exam. It provides an excellent way to diagnose diseases of the brain, spine, skeleton, chest, abdomen and pelvis. 

How do I prepare for an exam?

Before your  MRI, make sure you have the forms you need and are prepared for the exam. On the day of your MRI:

  • Eat normally. 
  • Take your usual medications unless your physician gives you other instructions. 
  • If you have had previous exams (CT, MRI or X-ray) performed at a non-Bon Secours facility, please bring those images with you to your appointment.
  • Please bring an order from your physician.
  • If you have ever had any medical implants, please bring a device ID card or a physician note about the implant. 

MRI is very safe. There are no known health risks associated with the magnetic field or the radio waves used by the machine. However, some special circumstances limit the use of a magnetic field, so it is important for you to tell us if any of the following apply to you: 

  • cardiac pacemaker or artificial heart valve 
  • metal plate, pin or other metallic implant 
  • intrauterine device, such as Copper-7 IUD 
  • insulin pump or other infusion pump 
  • aneurysm clips 
  • previous gunshot wound 
  • inner ear implant 
  • ever been a metal worker (had metal in eye) 
  • if you are pregnant 

Any metallic substance, on or in you, can affect the quality of the diagnostic images. It can also cause discomfort or injury when placed in the magnetic field and may mean you cannot get an MRI. 

What should I expect during my exam?

The MRI exam requires you to lie very still on a table that moves into a scanner housing a large magnet. You may be asked to wear a gown. During the procedure, you may communicate with your technologist by intercom, and they will explain the various noises that you will hear; you will be given the option to wear ear plugs if you want.  In some cases, your physician may order the administration of intravenous contrast agent to enable visualization of some specific images. If you are claustrophobic, please let the scheduler or office know.

How long will the exam take?

The procedure lasts 20 - 60 minutes, depending on the number and types of images needed.


Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center
150 Kingsley Lane
Norfolk, VA 23510

Bon Secours Health Center at Harbour View
5818 Harbour View Blvd.
Suffolk, VA 23435
757-673-5800 or 757-541-1900 (Millie Lancaster Women's Imaging Center)

Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center
3636 High St
Portsmouth, VA 23707 

Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital
2 Bernardine Drive
Newport News, VA 23602