Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Beaumont is committed to providing the most convenient and highest quality MRI imaging services for patients and their physicians. We offer:

  • ease of scheduling with same-day or next-day appointments
  • six convenient imaging locations with MRI in Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties
  • board certified Beaumont radiologists to interpret your results as if their life depended on it, too
  • the latest generation of imaging technology that produces the clearest images
  • highly trained technologists to ensure your comfort and safety
  • an integrated electronic medical records system that allows your physician to see your images within minutes of the test - and provides easy access to those images to other health care providers involved in your future care

What is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses strong magnet and radio waves to provide clear and detailed diagnostic images of internal body organs and tissues. MRI is a valuable tool for the diagnosis of a broad range of conditions, including cancer, heart and vascular disease, stroke and joint and musculoskeletal disorders. MRI allows evaluation of some body structures that may not be as visible with other diagnostic imaging methods such as X-ray, ultrasound or CT scan.

Common uses of MRI

  • examine the heart, brain, spine, nerves, abdominal organs, breasts, reproductive organs and other soft tissues
  • assess blood vessels for clots and areas of narrowing
  • detect tumors and diagnose many forms of cancer
  • evaluate infections
  • assess injuries to bones, joints and muscles
  • guide radiologists when obtaining biopsies

How does an MRI scan work?

MRI procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis or as part of inpatient care. The MRI machine is a large, tube-shaped machine that a patient enters for a short time while lying comfortably on an exam table.

Unlike X-rays and CT scans, the MRI does not use radiation. Here's how the MRI works:

  • A magnetic field is created and pulses of radio waves are sent from a scanner.
  • Your body is made of tiny bits of matter called atoms; at the center of each atom is a nucleus. The radio waves move the nuclei of the atoms in your body out of their normal position.
  • As the nuclei realign into proper position, they send out radio signals.
  • The signals are received by a computer that converts them into an image that appears to be a thin slice of the part of the body being examined.
  • A radiologist (a board certified physician who specializes in reading images) creates a report and sends the information to your physician.

How to I prepare for an MRI

Before your MRI exam, remove all accessories including hair pins, jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids, wigs and dentures. During the exam, these metal objects may interfere with the magnetic field, affecting the quality of the MRI images taken. Notify your technologist if you have:

  • Any prosthetic joints – hip, knee
  • Heart pacemaker (or artificial heart valve), defibrillator or artificial heart value
  • Intrauterine device (IUD)
  • Any metal plates, pins, screws or surgical staples in your body
  • Tattoos and permanent make-up
  • A bullet or shrapnel in your body, or ever worked with metal
  • If you might be pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant

What will I experience during my MRI?

Before you have any medical imaging procedure, you should discuss the risks and benefits associated with the test with your physician.

  • You will be asked to remove any clothing, jewelry or other metal objects that may interfere with the procedure. If you are asked to remove clothing, you will be given a gown to wear.
  • A radiology technologist will position you on the MRI exam table. Likely, you will be lying flat on your back. Straps, foam braces or pillows may be used to help you maintain the correct position during the test.
  • The MRI tech will be in another room where the scanner controls are located. However, you will be in constant sight of the tech through a window. Speakers inside the MRI scanner help the tech communicate with you. You will also have a call button to let the tech know if you have any problems during the test.
  • During the diagnostic test, there will be a clicking noise in the machine as the magnetic field is created and pulses of radio waves are sent from the scanner. You will be given headphones to block out the noises from the MRI scanner and to help you hear any messages or instructions from the tech. It is important that you remain very still during the examination. Depending on the body part being scanned, you may have to hold your breath for short periods of time.
  • If contrast is used for your imaging procedure, initial images will be taken. Then, contrast will be injected in an intravenous line; a second set of images will then be obtained.
  • If you have claustrophobia (a fear of enclosed spaces), you can ask to have the test done on a machine with a wider, shorter tube. Additionally, sedative medication or anesthesia can be administered. Talk about these options with your physician before scheduling your exam.
  • Your Beaumont doctor will have access to the images and the radiologist's interpretation and will share the results with you.


Some of our locations also offer Cinema Vision googles for use during MRI procedures. The goggles may help reduce MRI claustrophobia, a fear of enclosed spaces, in patients who have the condition. During the procedure, the goggles help patients forget about their surroundings as they watch a DVD, TV or listen to an iPod, internet radio or an MP3 player. Cinema Vision can also help fidgety children remain still during the procedure.