Frequently Asked Questions

Did you know that health care has a well-hidden secret?

It is your legal right to choose where you want to have your MRI performed.

It’s a little known fact Health Care is actually a service that provided to you, the patient. As such, patients have the right to exercise choice when selecting a MRI provider. As a consumer, you make conscientious choices everyday about what to buy and where to go to make your purchases. Health Care is no different. You, the patient, can make a well-informed decision about where to go and who will deliver the service and customer care you deserve.

We want to help you make an informed decision when considering different MRI providers. The content on this page is designed to be a resource for you. We want to help you understand what questions you should ask and the factors that should be considered in your decision making process.

Below are some basic questions you should ask about the facility.

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  • What is MRI?
    Magnetic Resonance Imaging uses friendly magnetic fields to produce an unparalleled view inside the human body. MRI has become the diagnostic imaging modality of choice for most malignancies and neurological diseases of the brain and spine including:
    – Brain tumors
    – Alzheimer’s Disease
    – Cervical cancer
    The technology’s ability to generate, non-invasively, superb anatomical details of both bone and soft tissues has made MRI the preferred modality for most orthopedic applications including imaging of:
    – Knee, hip, shoulder, wrist, elbow
    – Ligaments and tendons
    – Back pain and failed back syndrome
  • Do I need a Prescription for an MRI?
    Yes. If you have reason to believe that an MRI would be beneficial in diagnosing your physical condition more accurately, discuss it with your doctor. Feel free to have your physician call Oakland MRI to talk about your case. If your physician agrees that an MRI exam would be beneficial, he or she can refer you to Oakland MRI for a scan. You may download our Prescription Form for your convenience.
  • How do I prepare for my MRI exam?
    Good news – no special preparation is needed. Eat and take any prescribed medication as usual, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.One important thing to remember, though: MRI and metal do not mix.An MRI system has a powerful magnet inside, which is why you need to follow these guidelines:Tell your physician and the MRI staff if you have a pacemaker, prosthesis, surgical clips, metal implants, or any other metal objects in your body. Some implants, such as a pacemaker, may be affected by an MRI exam.Leave metal or magnetized objects at home or give them to the MRI staff for safekeeping when you arrive for the exam. Items that might be affected by the magnet include watches, coins, keys, bobby pins or other hair clips, pocketknives, and credit cards. Avoid wearing eye makeup because metal flakes or slivers are found in some eye shadows. Let the technologist know if you work around metal finishing or grinding equipment. It’s important to keep the eye area free of any metallic particles. Finally, if you have additional questions or want more information before your exam, please don’t hesitate to contact your physician or the staff of the MRI facility.
  • What can I expect during my MRI exam?
    The MRI exam itself is painless – you won’t feel a thing. You may notice a slight knocking noise as each image is taken, however, so let your technologist know if you are particularly sensitive to sound.As with any exam, the hardest part is to be patient. Just relax and remain still. The MRI staff will keep you informed every step of the way. Remember, they are there to assist you. Should you become uncomfortable, need help, or have questions at any point during your exam, just say so. There is a built-in intercom in the system so you can talk with the staff.The length of your exam depends on the type of study your doctor has ordered. In many cases, MRI patients are done and on their way home within an hour.After your exam, the technologist will take you back to the preparation room to collect your things. That’s all there is to it.
  • How do I get an appointment?
    Simply call us to schedule an appointment. We will schedule your appointment for the earliest possible date and time convenient for you.
  • How Quickly can I Schedule my Appointment?
    Oakland MRI can get some patients in the same day they call and most can be scheduled within 48 hours. But, did you know that many MRI facilities, hospitals especially, are booked for days, or even weeks. This translates into long wait times for patients seeking to schedule a MRI Exam. Long wait times can be frustrating, especially if you are in pain as a result of your illness or injury. Sometimes the most compelling reason for a seeking out a MRI provider not associated with your referring Doctor or Hospital is simply the amount of time you’ll need to wait for an appointment. Many out-patient MRI facilities and independent clinics often have less of a wait time, and can even get you in the same or the next day. This can mean a faster scan, quicker results and a shorter recovery time for patients. If your facility is unable to accommodate you in what you consider to be a reasonable amount of time, you have other options. Remember, you don’t always have to wait!
  • Can I eat before the exam?
    Usually there are no dietary restrictions before a MRI exam. However, if your physician has requested the use of a contrast agent for your MRI then it would be best not to eat two hours prior to your exam to minimize the already unlikely event of nausea.
  • What is a contrast agent, and will I need it?
    Certain types of scans require the use of an injected contrast media. This contrast media, which is given intravenously before the exam, highlights certain body parts. If your physician orders this type of scan, our client services coordinator will explain the contrast agent to you and answer your questions. If contrast media is prescribed, please tell your physician:
    – If you are pregnant, think you might be; or are breast feeding
    – If you have anemia or any diseases that affect red blood cells
    – If you have asthma or other allergic respiratory disorders
    – If you have ever had an adverse reaction to contrast media.
  • May I bring someone to the exam with me?
    Yes, although they will likely have to wait in a waiting room while the scan is being done.
  • What will happen when I get scanned?
    Patients are often pleasantly surprised to discover that the MRI examination is one of the easiest and most comfortable medical exams they have experienced. Before the scan our trained MRI technologist will simply ask you lie down on a cushioned table, which will move into the magnet. After you have been comfortably positioned for the scans, all you have to do is relax and lie as still as you can. While the MRI test is being conducted, your MRI technologist will carefully monitor the operation of the exam from an adjacent room. You will be able to speak to the technician through the intercom system at all times during the exam. You will hear a knocking sound from the MRI system that ranges from barely audible to quite noticeable; this is normal.
  • Do I have to lie still when I have an MRI?
    Yes. In order to achieve the best imaging results it is important to minimize movement. You should remain relaxed and as still as possible. Because a scanning session will often include a series of individual scans, you will probably be given the opportunity to find a more comfortable position between scans. If you find that you are uncomfortable in any way, the attending MRI technologist will help you find a position in which you can rest comfortably.
  • I'm very claustrophobic. What should I do?
    Because our MRI has a larger bore than older equipment, allowing patients to see the examination room around them – the chances of you becoming claustrophobic while being scanned are minimal. If you have claustrophobic tendencies and you are concerned that this may otherwise prevent you from remaining still, please ask your physician to prescribe a sedative for you to take just prior to your exam. Oakland MRI has both an open magnet and a closed magnet. Many facilities only have a closed magnet. Patients who are truly claustrophobic may benefit from an open magnet, which reduces the feeling of claustrophobia. Another option for patients with claustrophobia is sedation. Sedation can drastically reduce the feeling of claustrophobia allowing claustrophobic patients to take advantage of a closed MRI scanner. Patients should speak with their referring physicians for sedation options prior to their MRI Scan. Most MRI Facilities are unable to provide patients with the sedation at the time of their exam, so patients should plan accordingly with their doctors.
  • When will my physician get the results of my exam?
    Your MRI scan will be reviewed by an ACR certified radiologist specially trained in MRI technology. The radiologist will then send the report to your physician, who will discuss the findings with you. In most cases the results will be available by noon on the next business day after your exam. Oakland MRI completes and send their reports within 12 to 24 hours. Many in the industry standards are 24-hours or longer. It’s important, however, to check with your provider to see what standard they follow. You don’t want to be stuck waiting for results when you’re in pain. It’s also important to know how your Doctor will access your results. Some hospitals and clinics have doctor-accessible portals which make it easy for doctors to login and access your results. Other clinics will provide a patient a CD just following their exam. This CD can then be taken to your referring doctor during your next scheduled appointment. Still other clinics work with actual film scans, which will need to be hand-delivered or mailed to your Doctor’s Office. This can mean additional wait times before your Doctor is able to provide you with a diagnosis. Oakland MRI has a doctor-accessible system for referring doctors so that they may have the images as soon as they are completed. We provide patients with a disk of their images before they leave our facility as well.
  • How much does it cost?
    For most MRI scans, the cost depends somewhat on the complexity and your Insurance coverage. While we will gladly accept most insurances, it is your responsibility to verify your coverage and copays with your insurance company. We will be glad to provide you with an accurate breakdown after we receive your referral and coverage information from your insurance company.
  • Do you accept Workers Compensation cases?
    Yes. With proper documentation and authorization we will process an insurance claim with your Workers Compensation insurance carrier.
  • Do you accept Automobile Injury claim cases?
    Yes. With proper documentation and authorization we will process an insurance claim with your Automobile Insurance company and or your attorney.