Mobile MRI services are offered at Herrin Hospital in both open and closed imaging units.

What is Magnetic Resonance Imaging?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, is an advanced, state-of-the-art method, which produces very clear pictures, or images, of the human body without the use of X-rays. This technology enables physicians to detect developing diseases or abnormalities. MRI uses a powerful, but harmless, magnetic field and radiowaves, like the kind that transmit your favorite FM music. The combination of radiowaves and magnetic field produce detailed images of body structures such as the brain, the spine, and other vital organs.

How does MRI work?

The human body is made up of millions of atoms, which are magnetic. When placed in a magnetic field, these atoms line up with the field, much like a compass points to the North Pole. Radiowaves, tuned to a specific frequency, tip these tiny magnets away from the magnetic field. As they gain energy, they tip. When the radiowaves are turned off, the atoms try to realign with the magnetic field, releasing the energy they gained as very weak radio signals. A powerful antenna picks up these signals and sends them to the computer, which performs millions of calculations to produce an image for diagnosis.

How long is an MRI scan?

The average MRI scan takes 5-15 minutes, with a complete exam running 20-60 minutes. During this time, several dozen images may be obtained.

What are the important considerations for an MRI exam?

The MRI exam poses no risks to the average patient if appropriate safety guidelines are followed. If you have any questions regarding the MRI exam, please be sure to discuss them with your physician.

What can you expect during the MRI Exam?

Although MRI is a very advanced medical technique, the MRI exam is probably one of the easiest and most comfortable exams you may ever experience.

The technologist will simply ask you to lie down on a cushioned table which will automatically move into the magnet after you have been comfortably positioned for scanning. The technologist will leave the magnet room but you will be in constant contact with him or her throughout the entire exam.

When the MRI scan begins, you will hear a muffled thumping sound which will last for several minutes. Just relax---even take a nap---but try to lie as still as possible since any movement during this time will blur the picture.

Other than sound, you should experience no other sensation during scanning. When scanning is complete, the technologist will return to assist you off the table.

Patient Checklist for MRI

Prior to your exam, please review the following checklist:

  • Please bring previous X-rays applicable to the exam. The radiologist may want to review them. (ex. If you are having a MRI of the knee, please bring any previous X-rays of your knee.)
  • You CAN eat and drink prior to the exam.
  • You CAN take any medication you may currently be taking. It is not necessary to stop taking it prior to the exam. In fact, the exam will be much more comfortable if you continue to take your medication.
  • You CANNOT have the exam if you have any of the following:
    • Cerebral aneurysm clips
    • Certain heart valves
    • Cochlear implants
    • Metal filings in the eye
    • Pacemaker
  • You will be asked a series of questions concerning your surgical and occupational background. If this history includes metal work (ex. welders, grinders, etc.) or metal implants, please be sure to tell the technologist prior to your exam. Preliminary X-rays may need to be taken.
  • If you think you may be claustrophobic, ask your doctor to prescribe medication prior to the exam. If you do receive medication, please bring someone with you that will be able to drive you home because you will not be able to drive yourself.

Relax and do not worry about the exam. We will make sure that you receive the quality, professional care that you deserve.

Staff by Discipline:
  • Radiologists
  • Registered Technologists
  • Department Accreditations:
    Medical Director:
    Narsingam Gatla, MD
    Credentials of Medical Director:
    Board Certified in Radiology

    Physicians providing services at our hospitals are independent contractors with privileges to admit and care for patients at our hospitals.

    Herrin Hospital

    201 South 14th St.
    Herrin, IL 62948

    618 942-2171ext. 35176