Home / About / Join Our Team / Contact / 610-431-5000

Medical Services Locations Patient/Visitor Info Programs & Support Points of Pride
Try it on For Size Program

If you are unsure about having your MRI and would like to see the unit and facility for yourself, call 610.431.5131 and ask to be part of the "Try it on For Size" Program on Tuesday evenings. During this program, you will be given a tour of the Fern Hill Radiology facility, shown the MRI unit and given the opportunity to speak with a technologist to have your questions and concerns addressed. This program is FREE.

Like many people, you may be a little anxious about having an MRI. It is understandable. Patients have many preconceived notions about what an MRI is and how it operates. The goal of this webpage is to introduce you to The Chester County Hospital's MRI service and address any questions or concerns that you may have before having your MRI performed.

What is an MRI?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a test that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to capture images of internal organs and structures of the body. It can show problems that may not be shown by use of other forms of imaging such as X-ray, ultrasound or computed tomography (CT) scans.

Why is it done?
MRIs are performed for many reasons. It can be used to identify tumors, bleeding, injury, blood vessel disease, or infection among other problems. It can also be done following another procedure such as an X-ray to provide your physician more clarity. MRI scans can be conducted on the head, chest, blood vessels, abdomen and pelvis, bones and joints, and the spine.

What should I do to prepare for an MRI?
Let your physician and the MRI technologist know if you:

  • Are allergic to any medications
  • Wear any medication patches
  • May be pregnant
  • Have a pacemaker, artificial limb, metal pins or parts in your body, tattooed eyeliner, or any implanted or prosthetic device.
  • Have had an accident or work around metal
  • Have had recent surgery
  • Become nervous in confined spaces*

- Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment to allow for registration and paper work.

- For an MRI of the abdomen, you may be asked to not eat or drink for three (3) hours before the test.

- For specific MRI of the prostate exams, you may be required to have a bowel prep the night before.

* If you are anxious, please inform your ordering doctor so they may prescribe you something to help you relax.

What should I bring/wear to the MRI?

  • Please bring your MRI order form, insurance information and pre-certification (if needed)
  • Wear clothing that has no metal, zippers, snaps, etc
  • Leave jewelry and valuables at home (wedding rings are typically fine!)
  • You may want to bring a friend or family member with you to drive home if you planning to take medicine or a sedative to help you relax.

How is an MRI done?
The MRI will be done by an ARRT certified technologist who will take a number of images that will later be interpreted by a Board Certified, Penn Radiologist. You will go through a screening process that will ensure that it is safe for you to enter the MRI room and have the test completed. You may be asked to remove any jewelry, hair accessories and assistive devices that you have on for the duration of the test. You may be asked to change into a hospital gown depending on the type of test that you are having.

The MRI table will be lowered for you to easily get onto the bed and lay down on your back or stomach. The position that you are facing will depend on the part of your body that needs imaging. Your head, chest and arms may be secured with straps to help you remain still. Once you are in place, the table will slide into the opening of the magnet (also known as the bore). The body part that is to be examined must be in the center of the bore.

Some people may feel nervous or claustrophobic inside the MRI magnet, especially for long periods of time. All of the MRI units for The Chester County Hospital have the technology to take images quickly, offering shorter procedure times and higher quality images. The MRI unit located at our Fern Hill Medical Campus offers a larger bore, or opening, with the same speed and quality as a traditional MRI unit.

Many people who have fears of small spaces may opt for an "open" bore where the Magnet does not fully surround the patient. These devices may make you less claustrophobic. However, the images taken are not as high a quality and typically have a longer exam time. The Chester County Hospital does not have such a magnet.

Once inside the magnet, you will hear a loud fan and hear air moving through the opening. There will also be a lot of tapping, banging and beeping noises. You will be given earplugs to help drown out this noise. It is important to stay completely still during this time.

You may be alone in the room while the MRI is being performed, however, you are not alone. Your technologist will be in the next room and will be able to communicate with you throughout the entire procedure.

An MRI test usually takes about 30 to 60 minutes but can take as long as two hours.

To ease your fears...
The Chester County Hospital understands that having an MRI can cause some anxiety for patients. We have taken many measures to ensure that you have the most relaxing and comfortable experience possible:

  • The MRI is located in a spacious room filled with natural light
  • Our Fern Hill MRI has a wide opening (70 cm) and short magnet length to limit claustrophobia and the amount of your body that is enclosed by the MRI at any given time. Can accommodate patients up to 550 lbs depending upon the patient's height and exam to be done
  • Feet-first entry into the magnet may be given depending on the part of the body being imaged
  • High-speed technology provides shorter test times and higher quality images
  • You will have continual contact with a technologist throughout the test
  • You will be given a button to press in case you wish to discontinue or postpone the test
  • You will be provided noise-reducing earplugs or headphones

Last Updated: 10/19/2011