MRI scan

Count on Montage Health for safe, personalized services during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula is accredited in MRI by the American College of Radiology, the nation’s leader in imaging standards.

What is MRI?

MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radiofrequency pulses, and a computer to make detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone, and other internal body structures. Unlike CT scans and X-rays, MRI does not use radiation.

Types of MRI

At Community Hospital, you may have an MRI to examine:

Large-bore MRI technology

If you feel anxious in narrow, enclosed spaces, our large-bore MRI might be right for you. It has more space and a bigger opening. Large-bore MRI provides comfort, accessibility, and a faster scan to help ease test anxiety. Talk to your doctor about scheduling your MRI using this technology.

Convenient, extended hours

You’ll appreciate extended hours of availability for MRI appointments. Schedule your scan in the evening and on some weekends without disrupting family commitments, having to find a babysitter, or taking time off work.

Before MRI scheduling

When your doctor recommends an MRI, tell your doctor about:

  • Recent illnesses or other medical conditions, such as:
    • Asthma
    • Diabetes
    • Heart disease
    • Kidney disease
    • Pregnancy or possible pregnancy
    • Thyroid problems
  • Certain medical devices you have that may pose a risk during your exam:
    • Pacemaker
    • Artificial limb
    • Metal pins, plates, heart valves, or other metal implants
  • Anxiety or nervousness in confined spaces. Your doctor’s office may be able to order a large-bore MRI or provide sedation (medication to help you relax) for your exam. You’ll need to arrange transportation home from the exam if you receive sedation

What to expect

Your doctor will tell you how long your MRI will take and what to expect.

Before your test

When you arrive at the imaging center for your MRI, you will:

  • Change into a gown to wear during the procedure. You may be able to wear your clothing if it’s loose-fitting with no metal, such as rivets, buttons, or zippers. Metal objects can affect how well the MRI works
  • Remove jewelry, eyeglasses, and hairpins. You may also need to take out hearing aids and removable dental work

Contrast dye

Depending on the type of exam, you may receive a special dye intravenously (through a vein). The contrast dye temporarily makes certain areas inside of your body show up more clearly in pictures. You may experience a warm sensation in your body when the dye is injected.


A Montage Health technologist will place you in the right position on an examination table. Gentle straps and pillows will help you maintain the correct position throughout the exam. Your technologist will tell you when you need to be still and when you can relax.

During the exam

Most MRI exams take 15 to 45 minutes, but it can sometimes take longer. You can listen to music and communicate with your technologist throughout the exam.

When the exam starts, the table you are lying on will move into position inside the MRI machine. Depending on the device, it may look like a short tunnel or have a partial circle opening. The table will move and stop several times during your exam. You may hear a thumping or tapping sound.

After your MRI

Ask your doctor how to take care of yourself after your MRI. You can likely resume your normal activities, unless you received sedation. Ask someone else to drive you home if you had sedation.

Getting test results

If you have an online MyChart account, you’ll likely see your test results in the patient portal within 24 hours. Your doctor will call to explain them and discuss next steps. Wait until you talk to your doctor before trying to understand what they mean.

Talk to your doctor

You’ll need a healthcare provider’s referral to receive radiology and imaging services from Montage Health. Once you have a doctor’s order, call (831) 649-7231 to schedule your test.

Sign up for MyChart

Manage your health easily and securely through our free MyChart patient portal. You can:

  • Access medical records, test results, and test prep instructions
  • Contact your care team
  • Get cost estimates
  • Pay bills

Sign up

Learn more about MyChart

Related locations

Choose an imaging location near you in Monterey County to see its available tests and hours of operation. Some locations offer convenient, extended hours for MRI and ultrasound exams.