Patient information

At Bethesda MRI we aim to provide the highest level of care for our patients. Read below for information about how to make an appointment and how to prepare for your procedure. If you cannot find the answer to your question below, please feel free to call:

Bethesda 301-657-2444

Chevy Chase 301-841-8300

Patient Services

  • State of the art Diagnostic MRI Services
  • Quick and convenient scheduling
  • Convenient appointment times
  • 2 to 4 hour turnaround on reports that are delivered to your physician’s office
  • Board Certified Radiologist interpretations
  • Superior detail on a high field scanner
  • Advanced scanner design
    • Nearly silent
    • Larger patient opening
    • Excellent for claustrophobic patients and children in need of a high field scan
  • Friendly and courteous staff
  • Integrated sound system to reduce anxiety
  • Most insurance and Medicare accepted

On the day of your exam you should plan to arrive 30 minutes prior to your appointment time and you will need to bring:

  • a copy of your doctor’s order
  • your insurance card
  • a personal ID
  • copies of any previous MRI & CT images

You may need to get a preauthorization from your insurance company.  If you need assistance with this, please call our office and we will do what we can to assist you.  Also, we have a music system with specially designed headsets in our MRI suite that allows you to listen to the music of your choice during your exam.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses two safe and natural forces, a magnetic field and radio waves, to produce vivid images of internal body parts. These images are read by our board certified radiologist, and the results are then sent to your doctor who will review them with you.  This procedure is non-invasive and painless.  Some patients experience anxiety or a feeling claustrophobia.  Our staff will make every effort possible to ensure your comfort. Please inform us, or your doctor when you schedule your exam if you feel you may need a sedative.

No special preparation is necessary before most exams. If there are any preps, you will be told at the time you are scheduling your appointment. You may wear your own clothing if it contains no metal such as zippers, snaps, etc. A good choice would be comfortable, loose-fitting clothes. Please note that we keep the MRI suite on the cool side because of the equipment, so you may want to dress accordingly. If your clothing is unsuitable, a dressing gown is provided, and blankets are available. A restroom and individual dressing rooms are available for your privacy. All metal objects, including coins, jewelry, credit cards and watches and hairpins must be removed and will be secured in your dressing room during the exam. Dyes used in tattoos may contain iron and could heat up during MRI, but this is rarely a problem. If you might be pregnant you should mention this to the technician.

The strong magnetic field used in MRI can disrupt the operation of an implanted cardiac pacemaker or other medical device. You will be asked whether you have a pacemaker, artificial heart valve, implanted drug infusion port, artificial limb, intrauterine device, or any metal pins, screws, plates or surgical staples. In most cases, metal objects used in orthopedic surgery pose no risk during MRI. Other objects that may prohibit MRI are an inner ear implant, clips used on brain aneurysms, or a recently placed artificial joint. Sheet metal workers and others who might have metal objects such as a bullet or shrapnel in their body should have an x-ray performed before having an MRI. Please notify our staff at the time of scheduling your appointment should you have any concerns.

Because your doctor may request oral or injected contrast to obtain the clearest images, the radiologist or technologist will ask you about allergies of any kind such as hay fever, hives, allergic asthma or allergy to food or medications. The technologist should know of any serious health problems because some may prevent you from having an MRI with contrast. People who tend to be claustrophobic might become uncomfortable and find it difficult to lie still during the exam. A sedative will relieve anxiety in this situation, but fewer than one in twenty patients will require such medication. Our equipment have short tunnels and wide broad openings that further minimizes this feeling.  We hope to make your experience at Bethesda MRI pleasant and comfortable. Please let our staff know how we can best meet your personal needs during this examination.

The MRI contains a padded bed on which you will lie during the exam. A small antenna may be placed near the area to be scanned, and the portion of your body that is being scanned will be moved into the machine opening. An MRI technologist will be in continual voice and visual contact with you. Exams usually last 20-45 minutes. The exam consists of a series of 4- to 7-minute scans. You may hear a variety of sounds during the scanning periods. You should remain very still during the scanning periods, as any movement will may negatively affect your scan images. Someone may stay with you during the exam. Other family members and friends are welcome to wait in our comfortable waiting room.