Your doctor has recommended you for either magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) or for magnetic resonance venography (MRV) of your head. All of these procedures use a magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to create detailed images, which our team of specialist physicians can use to distinguish normal, healthy tissue from diseased tissue. The MRA and MRV are specifically designed to examine your blood vessels. Our team of specialists is led by Barry D. Pressman, MD, chief of Neuroradiology, and by Franklin Moser, MD, clinical chief of Neuroradiology and Interventional Neuroradiology.

Before Arriving for Your Exam

  • You can print and fill out the MRI Questionnaire and the MRI and Pregnancy form, if applicable, from the Pre-Registration Questionnaire page before arriving to speed the registration process.
  • If you are claustrophobic (fearful of small, enclosed areas) or experience pain when lying on your back for more than 30 minutes, your referring physician may prescribe a relaxant or pain medication to help you through the exam. The imaging physicians at Cedars-Sinai will not prescribe such medications for you.
  • If you plan to take relaxation medication before your exam, it is our policy that you come with someone who can drive you home.
  • For studies that involve IV contrast: If you have veins that are small or hard to find, or have a port, please arrive 60 minutes before your scheduled arrival time.
  • If your doctor gave you an order, please bring it with you.
  • We want to make your waiting time as pleasant as possible. Consider bringing your favorite magazine, book or music player to help you pass the time.
  • You may also bring a CD to listen to during the procedure.
  • Please leave your jewelry and valuables at home.
  • Please wear comfortable clothing.

After Arriving

  • You must tell the technologist, radiology nurse and/or imaging physician of any allergies you may have and if you are pregnant or are nursing.
  • You will be asked to fill out a questionnaire which will determine if an MRI is safe for you. People with various implants (usually metallic), body piercings or with metal in their bodies (including some tattoos) may have difficulty with an MRI - which utilizes a strong magnetic field. The imaging physician needs to be informed of any of these potential problems.

During the Exam

  • For this exam, you will be asked to lie down on the scanning table, head-first with arms at your side.
  • Coils (special devices to improve image quality) may be placed around your head.
  • The scanning table will slide your whole body into the magnet.
  • During the scan you will not feel anything, but will hear intermittent humming, thumping, clicking and knocking sounds.
  • Earplugs will be provided to help mask the noise and to allow you to listen to music.
  • In most cases, the imaging physician requests a contrast agent (dye) to improve the quality of the images. The contrast agent is injected into a vein in the arm, which may cause a cool sensation.
  • As pictures are taken, you must hold very still, and in some cases, hold you breath.
  • The technologist is always able to see and hear you during the exam.
  • The MRI exam takes approximately 45 minutes. The MRA and MRV procedures take approximately 20 minutes.

After your exam

  • There are no restrictions placed upon you. You may eat or drive as normal, although if you took relaxation medication, you will need someone to drive you home.
  • Your films will be examined by an imaging physician and a report sent to your doctor. Your doctor will review the results with you.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 310-423-8000.

The S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center provides a full range of advanced imaging, both radiology and cardiology, as well as interventional radiology and interventional tumor (oncology) treatments to the greater Los Angeles area, including Beverly Hills, Encino, Mid-Cities, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, Studio City, Toluca Lake and West Hollywood.