How long does an MRI scan usually take?

Doctors employ MRI technology to aid in diagnosis and therapy monitoring. Three-dimensional pictures of the body are created by its scans. MRI scans are particularly helpful for getting pictures of the body’s soft tissue rather than its bones. The length of an MRI scan varies on a variety of variables, such as the body part being scanned, the type of MRI equipment being used, and any modifications to the scanning procedure, such as sedation or the use of a contrast dye.

How long does an MRI take?

The scan provides one image at a time, which takes around three to four minutes, but most diagnoses require numerous photos, which are often needed. An entire MRI scan visit lasts between 1.5 and 2 hours from start to finish. The length of an MRI scan, however, might vary depending on the body portion being examined, among other things. The timeframes shown in the following table are estimates and might change for individual body sections.

Factors that may affect scan time

The sort of scanner the hospital or clinic is employing can also affect how long a scan takes. Scan times on newer MRI machines are shorter than on older ones. It might take longer if you need to be sedated or given a contrast dye before your scan. You will require additional recovery time if you underwent sedation during your scan. The medical staff will question you about a number of things when you show up for your MRI visit, including whether or not you could be pregnant.

You must change into a hospital gown prior to starting your MRI scan. When the scan is finished, the staff will direct you to a locker where you may store your clothing. Additionally, you must take off any jewelry, including hearing aids, and body piercings.

What to expect during an MRI

Before starting the MRI scan, medical experts may occasionally inject a contrast dye into your arm. With the aid of this dye, pictures will appear on the scan more clearly, which will make it easier for physicians to make a diagnosis. Using an IV tube that they will implant into a vein, the personnel will administer this dye.

A medical expert will ask you to lie down on a bed before placing your body into the MRI machine during an MRI scan. You place the bodily part that has to be scanned into the middle of the MRI scanner, which resembles a huge tube.

Inside the MRI machine

While the MRI machine is performing scans, you must maintain extreme stillness. This aids in making the visuals as clear as possible. In order to create clear photos, you may occasionally need to hold your breath for up to 30 seconds.

A tube with apertures on both ends is the MRI machine. The scanner normally has a fan to keep you cool, and the staff could let you choose some music to listen to while the scan is happening.

The team will communicate with you over an intercom system while doing the scan. This enables them to provide you with guidance or assurance as necessary. While you are inside the machine, they can see your face and hear your responses.

The scan will be accompanied by loud, mechanical noises. Before the scan, a member of the staff will place an alert button in your palm. You can use this button to ask the personnel to halt the operation at any time if you’re uncomfortable, in pain, or wish to.

It is technically feasible to snooze through an MRI. Before the scan, a medical practitioner may occasionally sedate you. However, some MRI scan types need your participation, therefore you must stay awake for these.

For instance, you might need to follow breathing instructions during a cardiac MRI scan. When to breathe in, hold your breath, and breathe out, the personnel will instruct you through the intercom system. It is crucial to note that MRI equipment may be quite noisy. As a result, it could be challenging for people to sleep while the machine scans.


Strong magnets are used in MRI scans to provide sharp pictures of the brain, spine, muscles, ligaments, and tendons, among other body components.

An MRI scan typically takes 15 to 90 minutes to complete. The length of an MRI scan can be impacted by a variety of factors, including:

  • the the body region being scanned, the MRI equipment being used, and whether or not you need to be sedated or given a contrast dye
  • With your doctor, you may go through your specific anticipated MRI scan time as well as any other queries or worries you might have concerning the procedure. This also involves having anxiety related to the scan.

Also See: