Magnetic Resonance Imaging | MRI

MaineHealth offers the most advanced diagnostic imaging tools, including MRIs. You don’t need to leave the community for MRIs and other diagnostic imaging services. They’re close to home.

Our skilled technicians guide you through the process. Board-certified radiologists review MRIs and other diagnostic tests ordered by your doctor.

What is an MRI?

An MRI makes detailed images of a patient’s organs, tissues and bones. It is the used frequently to evaluate problems of the brain and spine. MRI is also are used to diagnose problems of the:

  • Heart and blood vessels

  • Breasts

  • Liver, kidneys and other internal organs

  • Bones and joints

Magnetic resonance imaging uses a large magnet to create high-tech images. An MRI is able to show problems that cannot be seen using other imaging tools.

MRI risks

MRIs are safe. There are no known risks to having an MRI.

But patients with the following conditions may be advised not to have an MRI:

  • Pacemakers, infusion pumps or any medical device using electronics;

  • Medical devices containing metal.

  • Obesity. A very large patient may not be able to fit inside a standard MRI machine.

  • An MRI can burn the skin if you’re wearing a medicine patch.

Talk to your provider ahead of time about your concerns or questions.

During the MRI test

An MRI does not hurt. It is painless. An MRI machine can be noisy.

The patient lies down on a table that slides into the opening of a tube that is the MRI machine. The patient is asked to lie very still during the test.

During the scan, the magnet makes repeated tapping and thumping noises. This is normal. Patients may be given earplugs or be able to listen to music. This is a way to block the noise of the MRI machine.

Patients may be given a sedative to relax them, if they have trouble lying still.

The results of an MRI often are available after a few days. This gives time for the radiologist to review the test and share the results with your doctor.