Even if you’ve never thought about magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, the odds are pretty good that you—or someone you love—will end up getting one sooner or later.
The reason: MRIs are a powerful tool for looking inside your body in a quick, noninvasive way. The sheer number of health issues that an MRI scan can identify makes it a go-to tool for doctors trying to diagnose dozens of health issues, including everything from joint damage and arthritis to cancer.
Other reasons your doctor might ask you to get an MRI include:
- Bone infections
- Spinal pain
- Neck pain
- Lower back pain
- Inflammatory conditions
- Brain damage (caused by an injury or stroke)
- Multiple sclerosis
- Eye and ear disorders
What to Expect
It’s a good idea to know what’s going to happen before you arrive for your MRI. That big, white, tubular machine can be pretty daunting if you don’t know what to expect.
The good news is you don’t have to stop eating the night before your scan, so go ahead and go to dinner with your best friend; you can keep taking your regular medications, too.
You’ll want to schedule about two hours for the procedure. You’ll probably only be inside the MRI machine for 40 minutes to an hour, but you’ll need the rest of the time to get checked in, change into a gown, and prepare to leave when it’s over. Just before your MRI, you’ll be asked to remove anything that has metal parts—jewelry, underwire bras, glasses, and hearing aids. (One note: Don’t forget to let your care team know if you have metal implants, like a pacemaker or a joint replacement or prosthesis.)
When it’s time for your scan, you’ll lie down on a moveable table that slides into the opening of the MRI machine—a big tube with both openings at both ends. The procedure is painless, but noisy. To make it more comfortable, you’ll probably get ear plugs or there’ll be music playing in the room. You’ll also be able to use a microphone to talk to the technologist, who’ll monitor you from another room.
In most cases, you’ll be asked to stay still during the scan. But if you’re getting a brain scan, you might be told to move your fingers or answer a few simple questions.
When the MRI is complete, most people resume their normal daily activities. Some patients, particularly those with claustrophobia, receive sedation before the procedure, so they should have someone drive them home. You’ll typically receive the results of your scan within a few days.
Where Can You Get an MRI?
There are lots of places to get an MRI, and most offer similar scans.
The procedures aren’t all priced similarly, though. Some MRIs are more than $1,600, putting an unwanted dent in anyone’s bank account. But if you ask your doctor to order your MRI from Gateway Hancock Health you’ll save money—possibly a lot of it. On average, Gateway’s lab and imaging prices are 70% lower than what you’d pay at a hospital. So the MRI that might cost as much as $1,600 is just $599 at Gateway. If you want to know exactly how much you’ll pay, they’ll give you an estimate up front.
Not only that: In addition to being an affordable place to get an MRI (or X-ray, ultrasound, or CT scan), Gateway was built with your convenience in mind. Located at I-70 and Mount Comfort Road, Gateway is close to home. You won’t have to wait long for your results either—Gateway will send them to you and your doctor in 36 hours or less.
If you have more questions, or if you just want to find out what an MRI or another type of imaging might cost, call Gateway Imaging at 317-866-7301. They’re ready to help!