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Understanding MRI

What is an MRI Scan?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a painless method of looking inside the body. Instead of x-rays, the MRI scanner uses magnetism and radio waves to produce remarkably clear and detailed images of your head, spine, knee, shoulder or other parts of your body.

A MRI scanner consists of a strong magnet with a radio transmitter and receiver. These components together obtain information from your body. MRI produces soft tissue images and is used to distinguish normal, healthy tissue from any abnormal tissue that may be present. Depending on what information that your doctor needs, the MRI scan may require the use of a contrast agent given by IV to assist in seeing certain structures in your body.


What can I expect before my MRI exam?

There is little preparation for a MRI exam. Take your daily medications as normal unless instructed otherwise. There are few dietary restrictions for an MRI exam. During the scheduling process, you will be informed if there are dietary requirements for your exam.

If your clothes have metal fasteners or metallic design you will be asked to change into a hospital gown. If you don’t want to change into hospital attire, please wear cotton clothing without metal zippers, hooks or buttons. A locker will be available to secure your personal belongings.

Please bring a list of your current medications.

If you are claustrophobic, your doctor may prescribe oral medication that you can bring to take at your MRI appointment.

Please arrive 30 minutes prior to your exam to check in. A board-certified MRI technologist will review your MRI safety screening form and discuss any safety considerations and questions that you may have concerning the exam.

What can I expect during my MRI exam?

The duration of the exam will vary but the average is 30-45 minutes per body part.You will be required to lie very still during the exam.

During the exam you will hear loud intermittent knocking noises. The technologist will provide you with ear plugs or headphones so that you can listen to music or talk radio.Satellite radio is available at all MRI locations.

The technologist will be in contact with you both visually and verbally during the entire exam. You will be provided with a call button that can notify the technologist if you need their assistance immediately during the exam.


Our MRI Units

If you tend to get claustrophobic in enclosed places, you may want to ask about scheduling your MRI at our locations that have an OPEN bore MRI, which has a wider opening. Our OPEN bore MRI units are located on our main campus at 1740 Nicholasville Road, at Baptist Health Diagnostic Services Hamburg and Baptist Health Diagnostic Services Brannon Crossing.

Most of our MRI units are 1.5 T (T stands for Tesla, the unit of measurement quantifying the strength of the magnetic field). One of the units at our main campus is 3T, which yields exceptional anatomical detail. The increased image clarity revealed by the 3T is particularly beneficial for imaging the brain, spine and musculoskeletal system.

Patient Safety Considerations

Because of the strong magnetic field used during the exam, certain conditions may prevent you from having an MRI procedure or require modifications for the examination. When scheduling your appointment and prior to your exam, please alert our staff and technologist to the following conditions that may apply to you.

• Pacemaker

• Internal Cardiac Defibrillator

• Neurostimulators

• Implanted drug infusion device (i.e., insulin pump)

• Exposure of metal fragments to your eye

• Artificial heart valve

• Aneurysm clips

• Cochlear implants

• Metallic implants or prosthesis

• Vascular stent or stent graphs

• Shrapnel or bullet wound

• Renal insufficiency


Please remove the following before your MRI scan:

• Body piercing/jewelry

• Medication patches

• Hearing aids

• Removable drug infusion devices

Baptist Health Lexington Scheduling:

859-260-6547 or 1-800-280-5090

Baptist Health MRI Locations: 

Baptist Health Lexington - Main Campus
1740 Nicholasville Road

Baptist Health Diagnostic Services Southland Drive
100 Southland Drive

Baptist Health Diagnostic Services Hamburg
1775 Alysheba Way

Baptist Health Diagnostic Services Brannon Crossing
100 Providence Way


The American College of Radiology awards accreditation to facilities for the achievement of high practice standards in image quality, personnel qualifications, adequacy of facility equipment, quality control procedures, quality assurance programs and safety guidelines. Providing you with the finest care and service possible is our goal. We encourage your comments on the care you receive as a patient. Should you have a suggestion, comment or question while you are here, please let us know or you may call 859-260-6168 to speak with a patient representative. Thank you for letting us serve you.