How long does it take to get an MRI?

How long does it take to get an MRI? An MRI scan typically takes between 15 and 90 minutes, depending on the size of the area being scanned and the number of images being taken.

What is MRI ?

:small_blue_diamond: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a type of medical imaging used in radiology to create images of the body’s structure and function. Scans performed with MRI machines produce images of internal organs by combining radio waves with magnetic fields and magnetic field gradients.

:small_blue_diamond: Internal organs and structures can be seen in exquisite detail thanks to the combination of a powerful magnet, radio waves, and a computer in an MRI scan. The scanner is shaped like a long tube with a flat table in the middle, and the patient slides inside for a few minutes.

:small_blue_diamond: In contrast to CT scans and X-rays, ionising radiation is not used during an MRI scan. Studies involving magnetic resonance imaging Sedation-required procedures can add 15-30 minutes to the total time, according to RadiologyInfo. org.

:small_blue_diamond: Unless you enjoy lying completely still in a tube that makes loud and mystifying noises, getting an MRI (which stands for magnetic resonance imaging) is probably not high on your list of ways to spend your free time.

:small_blue_diamond: Unfortunately, MRIs are sometimes required to make a definitive diagnosis of an injury or illness. If that’s the case, you’ll need to spend some quality time inside a machine that provides doctors with a window into your inner workings. If the very idea of having an MRI makes your skin crawl, you should know that it’s not nearly as bad as it sounds.

:small_blue_diamond: If you’ve never had one before, an MRI is a diagnostic procedure that creates images of your body’s interior using a magnetic field and radio waves. An MRI machine uses a magnetic field to temporarily realign protons in your body so that images can be taken. By interacting with radio waves, these protons emit extremely weak signals that can be used to create cross-sectional images. Radiologists are able to get a detailed, multi-perspective look at the inside of your body thanks to the practise of stacking multiple images.

:small_blue_diamond: When other diagnostic tools, like X-rays, CT scans, or ultrasounds, fail to provide a clear picture of a medical condition, your doctor may order an MRI. MRIs are able to provide exquisite anatomical detail of the soft tissues, allowing for the accurate diagnosis of conditions such as disc abnormalities in the spine, joint problems, tumours in organs such as the ■■■■■■■ and kidneys, structural heart problems, and brain injuries.

:small_blue_diamond: In most cases, you won’t need to do much in advance of your MRI appointment to get ready.
When you go in for an MRI, you won’t need to do anything special before your appointment. If you’re getting an MRI of your pelvis or abdomen, you might be asked to fast for a while.

:small_blue_diamond: Having no metal in or on your body is the single most important preparation step for an MRI. Incompatible metals may cause issues with the machine’s powerful magnet. Do not delay in informing your doctor if you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant. Your doctor may suggest an alternative test or delay the MRI until after you give birth because of the lack of knowledge about the effects of magnetic fields on foetuses.

:small_blue_diamond: At the time of your appointment, you will be asked to remove any metal objects from your person (including rings, earrings, and eyeglasses) and to fill out a checklist to ensure that you do not have any metal implants (including a heart valve, pacemaker, or cochlear implants) inside your body.

:small_blue_diamond: Your need for a contrasting agent injection during your MRI scan will be determined by the reason for your examination. When your doctor orders an MRI with contrast, you’ll get an injection of a contrasting agent like gadolinium just before the scan. The radiolucent properties of gadolinium allow for enhanced visualisation of the brain, heart, and blood vessels during imaging procedures. This can help in the diagnosis of cancer or other inflammatory conditions like MS.

:small_blue_diamond: If you’re worried about undergoing an MRI with contrast because of the risks involved, discuss your concerns with your doctor. After changing into a hospital gown, the next step is to enter the MRI scanner.

:small_blue_diamond: The machine will have one or two open ends and will be long and tube-shaped. Open MRI machines might not have walls or might have tubes that are much shorter than those in conventional machines. While receiving an MRI scan, a technologist will have you lie on a table and talk to them through a headset.

:small_blue_diamond: When it’s time to start the test, the tech will disappear behind a curtain, and the platform you’re lying on will be transferred into the MRI scanner. Even though the exam table may move you around to get a clearer picture, you should try to remain as still as possible.

How long does it take to do an MRI?

:small_blue_diamond: Depending on the nature of your injury or illness, an MRI may take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to complete. There will be a lot of thumping and tapping noises as the MRI machine does its thing. Ask the MRI tech if you can listen to music through your headset before your scan begins.

:small_blue_diamond: Claustrophobia sufferers should discuss their options with their doctors, who may recommend sedation, anaesthesia, or anti-anxiety medication prior to any procedures involving confined spaces. If you feel anxious during the exam and need to end it early, you can press the “panic button” in your hand.

:small_blue_diamond: There is no special action required of you after your scan. In most cases, you’ll be free to go about your day as usual after an MRI; however, if you were given medication to help you relax or reduce your anxiety, you may need someone to drive you home and should inquire about this in advance.

:small_blue_diamond: Radiologist with subspecialty training in ■■■■■■ imaging, neuroradiology, body imaging, or musculoskeletal imaging will interpret your images. Your doctor or healthcare facility will receive the results and get in touch with you to discuss them.

:small_blue_diamond:The results of an MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, scan can be visualised in three dimensions. Since MRIs provide a more distinct picture of soft tissue than CT scans and X-rays, they are frequently used in the diagnosis of conditions like:

  • your nervous system and your brain

  • muscles

  • Veins and arteries

  • organs

  • tendons

  • ligaments

:small_blue_diamond: To perform an MRI, powerful magnets are used to align protons within the body. Radio waves are sent through your body in short bursts to disrupt the alignment of these protons. To create an image, an MRI machine uses radio waves to briefly pause while the protons realign and emit signals.

:small_blue_diamond: The National Health Service reports that MRIs typically last between 15 and 90 minutes, though this time can be significantly reduced or extended depending on the number of images required and the area of the body being scanned.


The length of time it takes to receive the results of an MRI scan can vary widely, depending on a variety of factors such as the facility where the scan was performed and the severity of the patient’s condition. The National Health Service estimates that it will take between one and two weeks to receive your results. If you’re dealing with a condition that needs immediate care, you might get your results sooner.

Influencing aspects of MRI time

The length of time required for your MRI will depend on the following aspects.

  • First, let’s count the pictures: If a thorough analysis requires many images, your MRI will take longer than if fewer images are needed.

  • Second, the area of your body that will be scanned: The length of time an MRI takes generally increases with the size of the area being scanned.

  • Third, Contrast dye: In order to better visualise minute structures, a contrast dye is sometimes injected intravenously. When a contrast dye is used in an MRI, an additional 15-30 minutes may be needed.

  • 4-Sedation: Patients who are unable to remain completely motionless during the MRI, such as young children or those with claustrophobia, may need to be sedated beforehand. Sedatives can be taken ■■■■■■ or given intravenously.

What Can I Expect During My MRI?

:small_blue_diamond: According to the UK’s National Health Service, you may be asked to fast for up to four hours before an MRI scan. Before undergoing an MRI scan, you will likely be asked to fill out a medical history form and verify that you do not have any metal implants or pacemakers.

:small_blue_diamond: It is possible that you will be asked to change into a hospital gown before undergoing an MRI scan. Before your procedure, you may also receive a sedative or contrast dye through an IV.

:small_blue_diamond: You’ll spend the scan lying on a bed inside the MRI machine’s cylindrical bore. To improve image quality, a coil may be placed over the area of your body being scanned. Even though the radiologist operating the MRI will be in a different room, you’ll be able to communicate with them via intercom.

:small_blue_diamond: Relax while the machine takes a look at every inch of your body. A loud tapping sound may be heard, and earplugs or headphones may be provided as a precaution. According to the NHS, a scan can take anywhere from a few seconds to four minutes. During some brief scans, the radiologist may ask you to hold your breath.

:small_blue_diamond: Following the completion of your procedure, you will be released immediately. You should not drive, and you should not consume alcohol or operate heavy machinery for at least 24 hours after taking a sedative.


:small_blue_diamond: The average MRI procedure lasts between 15 and 90 minutes. There are a variety of factors that can affect the length of your MRI. The length of time an MRI takes depends on several factors, including the area of the body being scanned and the number of images required.
If contrast dye is used during your MRI, the procedure will take a little longer than usual.

Advantages of Magnetic Resonance Imaging

:small_blue_diamond: The invention of the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan was a major step forward in medical history. The advent of non-invasive imaging technologies has allowed medical professionals and scientists to conduct in-depth, detailed examinations of the human body without risking patient safety.

:small_blue_diamond: Here are some situations where an MRI scanner might be useful:

  • Conditions affecting the central nervous system, such as:

  • Malformations such as tumours, cysts, and birth defects can occur anywhere on the body.

  • It is recommended that women who are at an increased risk of developing ■■■■■■ cancer undergo regular mammograms.

  • Back and knee injuries and other joint abnormalities

  • Instances of certain heart conditions

  • Conditions affecting the liver and other abdominal organs

  • Women’s pelvic pain evaluation, including testing for fibroids and endometriosis

  • Possible uterine abnormalities in women getting tested for infertility

  • This is not even close to being an exhaustive list. The range and utility of MRI scanners continue to broaden.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding How long does it take to get an MRI?

Q1: How long does it take to get an MRI of the knee?

Weakness, swelling, and bleeding around the knee joint can all be detected with an MRI. There is a 30-60 minute time frame associated with having an MRI performed. Small devices with coils may be placed around your knee to improve image quality during the procedure.

Q2: How long does it take to get a shoulder MRI?

The average time for a shoulder MRI is between 15 and 45 minutes. The procedure could take as little as 15 minutes in some patients. According to, sedation-related delays can add up to 30 minutes to the duration of a procedure.

Q3: How long does an MRI of the brain or head take?

Imaging the brain with an MRI can reveal a variety of health issues. The scan itself takes between 30 and 60 minutes on average. Scans that don’t require a contrast dye can be completed in as little as 30–45 minutes, as reported by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center. Limited brain MRI scans, for example, only take about 5 minutes.

Q4: How long does it take to do an MRI of the lower back (lumbar region)?

Back pain and spinal cord conditions may have a common underlying cause that an MRI of the lumbar spine can help diagnose. A spinal CT scan can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. There may be an additional 45-80 minutes added to the procedure time if a contrast die is required.

Q5: How long does a cervical spine MRI take?

A 2019 study finds that an MRI of the cervical spine can be completed in as little as 20 minutes, according to Reliable Source. They usually last between 30 and 45 minutes. You may have a plastic coil placed on the top of your head to improve the quality of the image.

Q6: How long does it take to complete a cardiac MRI? reports that cardiac MRIs can be completed in under 90 minutes in most cases. The presence or risk of heart failure could be determined by this scan.

Q7: How long does it take to complete an MRI of the abdominal area?

It takes about 30 to 90 minutes to complete an MRI of the abdomen. It could take up to two hours in some circumstances. A wide range of diagnostic concerns can be addressed with an abdominal MRI.

  • Blood circulation

  • Abdominal enlargement

  • Meaningful change in the foetus

Q8: How long does it take to get an MRI of the hip?

It takes about 45 minutes to perform an MRI on the hip. Most MRIs for hip pain can be completed in about 30-60 minutes.

Q9: How long does it take to get an MRI of the ankle?

The average MRI of the ankle takes about 40 minutes, as reported by the National Health Service. Up to an hour may pass.

Q10: How long does a pelvic MRI take?

Normal time for a pelvic MRI is between 30 and 60 minutes. There could be a delay in the process if many photographs are required.

Q11: “How long does a chest MRI take?”

The average time for a chest MRI is under 90 minutes. If you have sustained any kind of chest injury or ailment is suspected, a chest scan may be necessary.

Q12: How long does it take to complete a ■■■■■■ MRI?

According to, the average time for a ■■■■■■ MRI is between 30 and 60 minutes. Before certain procedures, a contrast dye may be injected into an IV in your arm. Procedures that involve the use of contrast dye can add up to an additional 90 minutes to the total time needed.


:small_blue_diamond: From a few seconds up to three or four minutes, a single scan may take. To facilitate brief scans, you may be asked to hold your breath. Time required for the entire process ranges from 15 to 90 minutes, with the latter range corresponding to larger scan areas and more images being taken.

:small_blue_diamond: Among 112 patients with meniscal pathology, MRI scanning had a sensitivity of 90.5%, specificity of 89.5%, and accuracy of 90.1%. Conclusively, unnecessary surgical procedures may result from false-positive MRI scans. The reason MRIs take so long is because patients must remain completely motionless throughout the entire series of knocking noises.

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