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How long does an MRI Scan Take?

Updated: Aug 22, 2023

An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan is a non-invasive medical test that uses powerful magnets and radio waves to produce detailed images of the body. MRI scans are commonly used to diagnose a variety of conditions, including herniated discs, tumors, and joint injuries. One common question that patients have about MRI scans is how long the procedure takes. In this blog post, we will discuss the factors that can affect the duration of an MRI scan and provide an overview of what to expect during the procedure.



How Long Does an MRI Scan Take?


The length of an MRI scan can vary depending on several factors, including the type of MRI being performed, the part of the body being imaged, and the specific protocol used by the imaging center. In general, most MRI scans take between 30 and 60 minutes to complete, although some scans may take longer.

The duration of an MRI scan can vary depending on several factors, including the type of MRI, the specific protocol used by the imaging center, and the part of the body being imaged. However, here are some general guidelines for the time it takes to scan specific body parts on a 1.5T MRI machine:

  1. Brain: A brain MRI usually takes between 15 and 45 minutes, depending on the specific protocol and the size of the brain being imaged.

  2. Spine: A spine MRI typically takes between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on the area of the spine being imaged and the specific protocol.

  3. Abdomen: An abdomen MRI can take between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on the specific protocol and the size of the area being imaged.

  4. Pelvis: A pelvis MRI usually takes between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on the specific protocol and the size of the area being imaged.

  5. Extremities (arms or legs): An extremity MRI usually takes between 20 and 30 minutes, depending on the specific protocol and the size of the area being imaged.

It is important to note that these times are general estimates and can vary depending on the individual circumstances of the patient and the specific protocol used by the imaging center. Additionally, some patients may require additional scans or imaging modalities, which can affect the overall time required for the diagnostic process. It is always recommended to discuss any concerns or questions about the MRI scan with your healthcare provider to ensure that you are prepared for the procedure.


Factors That Affect the Duration of an MRI Scan

  1. Type of MRI: There are several different types of MRI scans, including T1-weighted, T2-weighted, and contrast-enhanced MRI scans. Each type of scan has a different protocol and may take a different amount of time to complete.

  2. Part of the Body Being Imaged: The length of an MRI scan can also vary depending on the part of the body being imaged. For example, a brain MRI typically takes less time than an MRI of the abdomen or pelvis.

  3. Patient Cooperation: Patients must remain still during an MRI scan to ensure accurate imaging. If a patient moves or fidgets during the scan, the images may be blurry or unusable, which can lead to the need for repeat imaging.

  4. Body Size: Larger patients may require a longer scan time to ensure that the entire area of interest is imaged.

What to Expect During an MRI Scan


During an MRI scan, the patient lies on a table that is moved into a large, cylindrical machine. The machine uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce detailed images of the body. The patient must remain still during the scan, which can be uncomfortable for some people. Some imaging centers offer music or other distractions to help patients relax during the procedure.

The MRI machine can be noisy, which can be bothersome for some patients. Patients may be given earplugs or headphones to help reduce the noise level. Some imaging centers also offer MRI machines with reduced noise levels or open designs, which can be more comfortable for some patients.

After the scan is complete, the images are reviewed by a radiologist, who will provide a report to the patient's healthcare provider. The provider will then discuss the results with the patient and develop a treatment plan if necessary.


Schedule your MRI at Millenium MRI Today!

Millennium MRI, with its state-of-the-art facilities situated in key locations including Largo, Florida; Tamarac, Florida; Ocala, Florida; Little Rock, Arkansas; Marion, Arkansas; and Jonesboro, Arkansas, has been at the forefront of offering advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) diagnostic services. Their commitment to employing cutting-edge technology, coupled with a team of expert radiologists, ensures accurate and prompt results for patients. As one of the most trusted MRI centers in these regions, Millennium MRI prioritizes patient comfort and safety, making it the preferred choice for many seeking top-notch imaging services. Whether you're in the heart of Little Rock or the serene environs of Marion, know that Millennium MRI stands ready to serve your diagnostic needs.


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