MRI is used to diagnose a broad range of conditions without the use of X-rays or contrast materials. The MRI scanners are capable of total body imaging, as well as advanced cardiac and vascular imaging, which has the potential to make more invasive procedures performed with guide wires and catheters unnecessary. This technology is able to provide clinical applications in neurology, MR angiography (MRA), spectroscopy, and orthopedic and cardiac examinations.

At both  WHS Washington Hospital and WHS Greene, our high field strength open bore MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner provides a solution for both claustrophobic and overweight patients without compromising quality or increasing exam time. This state-of-the-art MRI features increased head and elbow room, shorter exam times and state-of-the-art image quality.

WHS’s state-of-the-art MRI scanners and their high-field strength give your doctor the superior image quality required for the most accurate diagnosis while providing you a comfortable environment.

  • next-day appointments (if your insurance permits)
  • all the advantages of an open MRI, plus enhanced image quality
  • advanced cardiac and vascular imaging
  • open 7 days a week
  • evening appointments available

For more information, please talk to your doctor or call (724) 250-4300

Full accreditation by the American College of Radiology—all equipment and techniques used meet or exceed nationally accepted quality assurance and safety guidelines.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you or your physician may call (724) 250-4300 to schedule your exam.

A prescription is necessary for you to have the exam. If you do not have a prescription or your doctor has not sent one to the hospital, your MRI exam may be delayed.

The MRI machine does make different noises at different times throughout the procedures. Patients are supplied with headphones or earplugs (the patients choice) to reduce the noise levels to the patient’s ears. The patients may listen to music through their headphones during the procedure or they may just simply request ear plugs to minimize any noise during the procedure.

Patients who have the following medical conditions may not be able to have an MRI:

  • a cardiac pacemaker (the pacemaker may not function in the magnetic field of the scanner)
  • a catheter that has metal components may create a burn injury
  • a medication pump (insulin, etc.)
  • a cochlear implant

In most cases, an MRI exam is safe for patients with metal implants, except for a few types. People with the following implants cannot be scanned and should not enter the MRI scanning area unless explicitly instructed to do so by a radiologist or technologist who is aware of the presence of any of the following:

  • internal (implanted) defibrillator or pacemaker
  • cochlear (ear) implant
  • some types of clips used on brain aneurysms
  • some types of metal coils placed within blood vessels

You should tell the technologist if you have medical or electronic devices in your body, because they may interfere with the exam or potentially pose a risk, depending on their nature and the strength of the MRI magnet. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • artificial heart valves
  • implanted drug infusion ports
  • implanted electronic device, including a cardiac pacemaker
  • artificial limbs or metallic joint prostheses
  • implanted nerve stimulators
  • metal pins, screws, plates, stents or surgical staples

In general, metal objects used in orthopedic surgery pose no risk during MRI. However, a recently placed artificial joint may require the use of another imaging procedure. If there is any question of their presence, an X-ray may be taken to detect the presence of and identify any metal objects.

Patients who might have metal objects in certain parts of their bodies may also require an X-ray prior to an MRI. You should notify the technologist or radiologist of any shrapnel, bullets or other pieces of metal that may be present in your body due to accidents. Dyes used in tattoos may contain iron and could heat up during MRI, but this is rarely a problem. Tooth fillings and braces usually are not affected by the magnetic field, but they may distort images of the facial area or brain, so the radiologist should be aware of them.

Most of the new surgical metal implants are made of a high-quality stainless steel that is non-magnetic. If you have any information about anything implanted in your body, please have it available during your screening.

You may be asked to wear a hospital gown during the exam, or you may be allowed to wear your own clothing if it is loose-fitting and has no metal fasteners.

Jewelry and other accessories should be left at home if possible, or removed prior to the MRI scan. They can interfere with the magnetic field of the MRI unit, metal and electronic objects are not allowed in the exam room. These items include:

  • jewelry, watches, credit cards and hearing aids, all of which can be damaged
  • pins, hairpins, metal zippers and similar metallic items, which can distort MRI images
  • removable dental work
  • pens, pocketknives and eyeglasses
  • body piercings

Women should always inform their physician or technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. MRI has been used for scanning patients since the 1980s with no reports of any ill effects on pregnant women or their babies. However, because the baby will be in a strong magnetic field, pregnant women should not have this exam unless the potential benefit from the MRI exam is determined to outweigh the potential risks. This should be discussed with your physician. Pregnant women should not receive injections of contrast material.

Guidelines about eating and drinking before an MRI exam vary with the specific exam and also with the facility. Unless you are told otherwise, you may follow your regular daily routine and take food and medications as usual.

  • Some MRI examinations may require the patient to receive an injection of contrast material into the bloodstream.
  • The MRI machine looks like a tunnel or donut that has both ends open. You lie down on a movable table that slides into the opening of the tunnel. A technologist monitors you from another room. You can talk with him or her by microphone.
  • The MRI machine creates a strong magnetic field around you, and radio waves are directed at your body. The procedure is painless. You don’t feel the magnetic field or radio waves, and there are no moving parts around you.
  • During the MRI scan, the internal part of the magnet produces repetitive tapping, thumping and other noises. Earplugs or music may be provided to help block the noise. If you are worried about feeling claustrophobic inside the MRI machine, talk to your doctor beforehand. He or she may make arrangements for you to receive a sedative before the scan.
  • An MRI typically lasts less than an hour. You must hold very still because movement can blur the resulting images. In some cases, contrast agents are injected into your veins to enhance the appearance of certain tissues or blood vessels in the images.

One of our board certified radiologists will analyze the images and send a report to your primary care physician and the physician who referred you for the exam. This detailed report will be sent to your physician’s office within 24–48 hours. The physician’s office will call you or the results will be reviewed at your next appointment.