FAQ – Diagnostic MRI

If you and your health-team are considering an MRI, you might have some questions. Below are a few of the more common ones. If you have any others, or would like more information, please email or call us.

Where do I get a referral ?

Our referral form can be downloaded or printed here. It needs to be completed by a physician (family doctor or specialist) in your health-team.

How long is your waitlist ?

There is no wait ! Most exams can be performed within a couple of days. An urgent same-day exam request can be made by your physician by telephone.

How much does it cost ?

The fees for our exams are listed here. As we are a private facility, they are not covered by Medical Services Plan or other provincial health plans. We accept credit card payments directly or by third party insurer (ex. lawyer, other insurer, employer).

Is it safe ?

Yes. An MRI uses magnets and radiowaves to generate very detailed images of your body. It does not emit any potentially harmful radiation such as x-rays. There are some factors which may affect whether you would be suitable to have an MRI. Priority MRI works closely with your health-team in screening you for factors which may prevent you from having this type of scan. The factors include things like a pacemaker or metal fragments in your eye (from grinding or welding). These factors need to be considered in everyone, even if this is not near the body part being scanned. Almost all modern orthopedic hardware and an increasing number of implantable devices are MRI safe. Call us with any questions.

What should I do to prepare ?

You may be given instruction about eating and drinking before your scan. Unless you are told otherwise, take your medications as usual. Wear comfortable clothing. Leave jewellery and other metallic objects such as watches at home if possible. You will be given a locker to store any objects such as keys and electronics that you bring to the clinic. If you think that anxiety or clautrophobia may be an issue for you, talk to you health-team about the possibility of using a mild sedative for the scan. In this case, you may not be able to drive to and from your appointment. Our friendly staff will answer any other questions you may have and guide you through the process of getting your scan done successfully.

What can I expect ?

The MRI scan itself is painless. The technologist will position you properly on the table. A small coil will be placed around the body part of interest. During the scan, the MRI scanner makes a knocking and buzzing sound which can be loud, but you will be given headphones to listen to music of your liking. You will also be in constant two-way contact with the technologist. The most important part is to relax! This allows you to lie still and allows us to get great pictures. The length of the exam varies depending on the number of body parts and the type of exam. It is generally between 20 and 45 minutes.

Some scans require a contrast agent. The contrast agent may be administered intra-venously or into a joint. If you require the contrast agent into the joint, you will meet the radiologist who will discuss this procedure in detail with you.

Its done, now what ?

Once your scan is complete, it will be processed by the technologist and interpreted by the radiologist, who will issue a written report. You will be provided a CD of your scan and your doctor and health team can have electronic access to the scan images. The report for the scan will generally be available with 2-3 business days, but quicker if you require. They will be able to use the important information obtained to help guide your management.