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MRI Division of the Department of Radiology


Our Open Bore MRI Units, are state-of-the art diagnostic tools that provide a patient-friendly environment for high quality, routine, head, neck, body and musculoskeletal MRI exams.


The department does approximately 12,000 exams per year. The bulk of our exams are brain, spine and orthopedic studies, but we also scan the chest and abdomen. Breath hold and dynamic imaging greatly improve our image resolution in the chest and abdomen.


Baystate Medical Center now offers an open bore, 1.5 Tesla, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system that combines a larger bore, or opening, for obese and claustrophobic patients with the ability to capture high-field quality diagnostic images.  The field strength of a magnet is measured in units of Tesla,  the higher the number, the higher the field strength. The higher the field strength, the better the quality of images produced.


Our department is staffed with on-site board certified radiologists and radiology residents. Our technologists are AART or CNMT/ARRTN registered and several technologists have their ARRT/MRI certification.  Our MRI  units are accredited by the American College of Radiology.


How Will I Feel?

First, an MRI is not something to worry about. You will feel no different than if you were reading or watching television. There is absolutely no physical sensation or discomfort from the imaging process at any time, and no side effects -- An MRI is harmless. Second, an MRI involves no X-rays or radiation (even though the Baystate physician who reviews the image is a radiologist). There is one more thing an MRI isn't, and that's "quiet."  The system makes repetitive tapping and humming sound as it creates the image. Again, there is nothing to worry about; ear plugs or earphones for your choice of music are available.


What Should I Bring to the Appointment?

Confirming your appointment:  Please plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment. This gives us time to take information and answer your questions. (At Baystate we make every effort to confirm each appointment; but if you haven't heard from us or in the event you need to postpone your visit, please call 800-258-4674, ext. 5360 at least 24 hours in advance of your scheduled time.)


Appointments not confirmed may be canceled and given to emergency patients. If you do not arrive for a confirmed appointment, you may incur a fee.


What to bring with you:  Any X-rays, CT scans or other material your doctor has given you to bring, plus complete insurance information. We will be glad to help you complete our forms. A friend or family member is welcome to accompany you.


If you want a companion to sit with you during the MRI, we will gladly accommodate him or her, but that person must also be free or external or internal metal just as you are.


What not to bring:  Please leave metallic objects such as jewelry, watches, coins, and the like at home. Small security boxes are available at the Center for keys, wallets and essential items. Wedding and engagement rings do not need to be removed.


You may be surprised to learn that many cosmetics contain metallic substances. For the reason, please avoid using any make-up the day of your appointment.


What to tell us about:  A few people cannot receive an MRI or need special arrangements. Any of the following objects or conditions may interfere with your MRI.

  • Have a cardiac pacemaker.
  • Have a prosthetic heart valve.
  • Have a surgical clip, bone or joint replacement or any metallic implant.
  • At any time held a job in a metal-working industry or one in which you may
  • have been exposed to metallic dust or splinters.
  • Have suffered a shrapnel wound.
  • Have any metallic chips or splinters in the eye.
  • Are pregnant, or think you might be.