MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a type of exam that uses a strong magnetic field to look at various structures in the body without using radiation.  MRI produces two- or three-dimensional images on a screen using a large magnet, radio waves and a computer.  The images obtained by MRI are made into an image displayed on a computer screen.

MRI images can be used to diagnose various conditions affecting the brain and body.  MRI can also diagnose problems of the muscles, bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and injuries to the back and joints (ex. knee, shoulder).

The magnet is a very large tunnel that is open on both ends.  The MRI Technologist will assist you to rest on the table, usually flat on the back.  A special device is often attached to the body part being screened.  Sometimes an injection of a contrast agent may be given through the vein.  Earplugs will be provided because the exam is very noisy.  Patients can also bring a favorite CD to play or listen to music that is provided for relaxation during the exam.  As the scan begins, the table slides into the magnet an pictures are taken.  It is important to remain still during the exam so that the pictures will be clear.  A call button will be provided to press for assistance during the exam.  In addition, the Technologist is able to hear and see your actions during the exam.


  • Take medicine as usual on the morning of the procedure.
  • Eat and drink as usual on the morning of the procedure.
  • Remove all metal objects prior to the MRI.  Such items include keys, hair pins, barrettes, jewelry, watch, safety pins, paperclips, money clips, credit cards, coins, pens, belt, metal buttons, glasses, pocket knife, and clothing with metal in the material.
  • A questionnaire will be filled out prior to the exam to screen for conditions that may prevent the patient from having a MRI.
  • Bring any implant ID cards to the hospital on the day of the exam for the MRI staff to review.

Screening Information 

A screening phone call will be made on the night before the exam to verify the safety of having a MRI.  In addition, a questionnaire will be filled out upon arrival at Rutherford Regional Medical Center.

MRI cannot be done if any of the following are present:

  • A cardiac pacemaker                         
  • Cochlear (ear) implants
  • Aneurysm clips                                    
  • Implanted cardiac biostimulator
  • Neurostimulator or biostimulator     
  • Any implant held in place by a magnet

Based on the area being studied, some metal objects may interfere with the exam by causing unclear pictures.  Additional x-rays may also be needed prior to the MRI to verify the safety of having a MRI.  In addition, some exams will require study of x-ray films of the area in question.  If these films are not available at the time of the MRI, they will be performed after the MRI has been completed.  If you have questions about the MRI exam, please contact the Radiology Department at 828-286-5335 or ask the MRI staff on the day of the exam.