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It is estimated that more than 95 million MRI scans are performed each year around the world according to GE Healthcare.

The vast number of Americans needing and undergoing MRI exams each year underscores the importance of MRI imaging services for people’s health and well-being. 

As a leading provider of medical imaging services in St. Cloud, Minnesota, Alliance Imaging is the only facility outside of Rochester in Minnesota to offer GE's Signa Works AIR™ Technology for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)​

Technologists and MRI scanner

This innovative technology has numerous clinical benefits including shorter scan times for patients and improved image detail for our radiologists. 

The AIR™ Technology also introduces soft flexible coils to replace traditional rigid coils used to capture images of specific body parts. The outcome is increased comfort and an overall better experience for our patients.

What Is an MRI?

An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is an imaging exam that utilizes magnetic fields and radio waves to create accurate and detailed images of the body’s structures. One difference between MRI and CT scans is that an MRI does not involve radiation. MRI exams are critical in diagnosing a variety of conditions, ranging from spinal cord injuries to tumors.

Why Is an MRI Exam Performed?

Images from MRI scan

Identifying Brain Disorders

MRI can detect abnormalities in the brain like tumors, strokes, or aneurysms.

Spinal Cord Assessments

MRI exams can provide detailed images of the spinal cord and help diagnose injuries or degenerative diseases.

Diagnosing Joint Issues

An MRI is used to examine problems associated with joints such as torn ligaments, arthritis, or cartilage loss.

Detecting Heart and Blood Vessel Problems

While CT is commonly used to identify heart diseases, MRI can also be helpful in identifying  damage caused by a heart attack. 

Evaluating Treatment Progression

MRI scans can play a vital role in monitoring the progression or regression of cancerous growths. In the context of disease-modifying therapies, an MRI may also be used to monitor the efficacy and risks of treatment.

What To Expect

Safety Measures

During an MRI exam, patient safety is our first priority. To ensure this, our technologist will ask about any metal objects or implants that may cause complications.

It is crucial to inform our team of any medical devices or conditions you have.

Getting Ready

On the day of your MRI scan, you will typically be asked to change into a gown and remove items that might affect the image. Examples of items you’ll be asked to remove are jewelry, hairpins, eyeglasses, watches, wigs, dentures, and hearing aids.


Before an MRI scan, your MRI technologist will explain the procedure in detail.

During the Exam

You will be asked to lie on a padded table that moves into the MRI unit, which looks like a large metal donut. You will need to lie still and stay relaxed inside the MRI unit. Any movement can distort the image results.

A coil might be placed around the part of your body being scanned, such as your head, knee, or abdomen. You will also be given a squeeze button to call the technologist if you need anything. Our staff will also be watching you at all times through a glass window.

Time Frame

MRI scans can last anywhere between 15 to 90 minutes, depending on the type of study being performed.

Here are some approximate time frames for common types of MRI scans:

  • Brain MRI: 12-20 minutes

  • Spine MRI: 15-20 minutes

  • Joint MRI (such as knee or shoulder): 12-20 minutes

  • Abdominal MRI: 30-60 minutes


How Do I Prepare?

On the day of your MRI exam, wear comfortable clothing and remove items that might affect the image.

Depending on the type of scan you get, you may be advised not to drink or eat any food for a few hours before your appointment, especially if a contrast agent will be used.

It is also best to avoid wearing any deodorant, powder, or lotion on the day of your exam, as these products can contain substances that could interfere with the MRI images.

For your safety and comfort, make sure to inform your doctor and the MRI technologist if you suffer from claustrophobia or have a fear of being in closed or small spaces.

It is crucial to make a note of any metal implants or devices you may have in your body. These can include pacemakers, artificial joints, vascular stents, or cochlear implants. The magnetic field of the MRI machine can interact with these metal objects, potentially causing injury or distorting the MRI images.

  • Do I need a referral for a mammogram?
    No, a referral is not necessary to schedule a mammogram, but you should check with your insurance provider to ensure it’s covered.
  • Is the radiation from a mammogram harmful?
    No, as it only uses a very small dose of radiation--extremely low.
  • Can men have mammograms?
    Yes, while rare, they can also get breast cancer. If a man has symptoms such as a lump in the breast, a mammogram may be recommended.
  • What if I have implants?
    You can, and should, have a mammogram if you have breast implants. Just make sure to inform your technologist before the procedure. Images of your breast are taken to ensure the implants are intact, then followed by another set of images of just your breast tissue.
  • What happens if my mammogram shows something abnormal?
    Not all abnormalities are cancerous. If something unusual is seen, we may order additional tests to determine the cause, which could include additional imaging or a biopsy for analysis.
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Why Choose Alliance Imaging for your MRI Imaging Services in St. Cloud

Our team of highly trained professionals is dedicated to providing you with excellent care and ensuring your comfort while creating a welcoming environment where you feel safe and cared for.

Our state-of-the-art GE's Signa Works AIR™ Technology promotes accurate readings and timely results for enhanced patient peace of mind.

If your physician has ordered an MRI scan, you can rest assured that you're in good hands at Alliance Imaging. 

Learn more about our MRI Imaging services or to schedule your appointment, please contact us at 320-255-6530. 

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