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Home > UVA Imaging > Exams & Procedures > Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

MRI - What to Expect


MRI is a safe, painless exam that does not expose you to radiation.  The MRI machine contains a very powerful magnet so we must ensure that no metal objects get near the machine. 

To ensure your safety, you will be asked to complete an MRI patient screening form at the time of registration.

The machine makes loud thumping noises as it produces the images.  This video allows you to the hear MRI sound.

You will be offered music and given hearing protection to reduce the noise during your exam.

Prior to your exam you will receive a telephone call from one of UVA Imaging's Patient Liaisons to provide information about your upcoming MRI.


Our experienced technologists have many ways to make you comfortable and will work with you to find the right ones for you.  Please tell the technologist if you have anxiety or claustrophobia.

The technologist can see and communicate with you at all times during your MRI.


You will lie on a table which will slide inside of the MRI.  The specific positioning will depend on the body part being imaged.

For safety and comfort, you will be offered a call button, warm blankets, and ear plugs or a selection of music.

Length of Exam

The average MRI exam on one body part lasts 30-45 minutes.  Scans of more than one body part take longer. Your technologists will tell you how long you can expect to be in the machine.

MRI Extra Considerations

Extra consideration must be given if you have any of the conditions listed below.  We will work with you to make sure that you are scheduled appropriately.

Scheduling & Locations

MRIs are performed Monday-Friday at the following locations.  Appointments are also available Saturdays and Sundays at select locations.