MRIs are done at our Squalicum Parkway, Northwest Avenue  and Birchwood Avenue locations.

To schedule an MRI, or to verify where your MRI will be done, please call: 360.647.2422

What is an MRI?

Magnetic resonance (MR) is an imaging system which allows doctors to take a look inside the human body without using x-rays. MR uses a large magnet, radio waves, an antenna, and sophisticated computer processing to produce the images necessary to acquire information. These images can help your physician diagnose your condition and formulate the appropriate treatment plan. MR images may enable a physician to identify the type and extent of an abnormality; as a result, it can reduce the need for surgical evaluation.

MR is used to diagnose the following conditions:

  • Cancers
  • Brain and other nervous system disorders including stroke
  • Abnormalities in blood vessels
  • Traumatic injuries
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Tumors, whether benign or malignant
  • Musculoskeletal problems

How do I prepare for my MRI?

Patients will generally be asked to remove clothing and shoes for the exam. A gown or scrubs will be provided. You will be asked to remove all jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids, hairpins and removable dental work; metal objects may interfere with the magnetic field during the exam. Examination of the abdomen (including liver, spleen, and kidneys) require you to go without food or water (NPO) for 4 hours prior to your exam.


You will need a GFR/creatine level if any of the folowing are answered “Yes”:

  • Are you 60 years or older?
  • Are you diabetic?
  • Do you have a history of kidney removal or renal insufficiency?
  • Do you have a history of high blood pressure?

The Current GFR/creatine level must be within 45 days.

Please notify us for further instructions if:

  • You have a pacemaker, heart valve, defibrillator, neurostimulator, cochlear implant or other implanted device
  • You have a history of any metal in the eyes
  • You are pregnant, or may be pregnant

What should I expect during an MRI?

For a majority of the exams, you will be asked to lie on a padded table on your back. Some exams require that you go into the machine head first, while other exams are done going in feet first.

MRI is very loud. Each sequence of sounds is used to create the images. You will be given earplugs or a headset to block out some of the noise.

MRI is very sensitive to motion. You will need to be still during your exam.  Most MRI exams take 20-40 minutes to complete. Throughout the exam there are times when the machine is quiet, and the technologist will communicate with you via an intercom system.

Some exams require an injection of intravenous (IV) contrast. The contrast is called “gadolinium”, which is a rare-earth metal in liquid form. This will be injected through a vein in your arm by the technologist during your exam. Contrast is used to help the physician see abnormal tissues or blood vessels. For exams called arthrograms, the contrast is injected directly into a joint (such as the shoulder) under fluoroscopy prior to your MRI scan.

Some exams require you to hold your breath during certain sequences. The technologist will direct you in the proper way to hold your breath.

What if I am claustrophobic?

You may experience feelings of claustrophobia during the exam; sedatives are available from your doctor to ensure your comfort. Our state of the art open scanner offers our patients an alternative to the customary MR scanners, which can cause some patients to feel confined. This instrument is designed to accommodate such patients and also those weighing over 300lbs. When you call to schedule your appointment please notify the scheduler if you are interested in being scanned in the open machine.

When will I get my results?

One of our board-certified radiologists will interpret the images and prepare a written report for your physician. Our goal is for all reports to be available within 24 hours. If your appointment with your physician is sooner than 24 hours, let us know and our reports can be faxed or called in as a priority.

Please allow at least one hour for the exam.