At Gateway Diagnostic Imaging, we make it easy to get an affordable MRI scan in the Dallas-Fort Worth area without sacrificing quality. Learn more about receiving an MRI scan and what you can expect from Gateway Diagnostic Imaging.

What Is An MRI?

MRI is short for “magnetic resonance imaging.” This scan can provide you with a detailed, 3-dimensional image of the inside of your body using magnets and radio waves. Unlike an X-ray, MRI machines don’t use radiation.

An MRI exam is non-invasive and painless, letting your doctor take a look at your organs, skeletal structures, and tissues with one simple scan. Your doctor might order an MRI exam to check for cancer, joint issues, spinal issues, soft tissue injuries, or issues with your internal organs.

What To Expect During An MRI

When you arrive for your MRI exam, you’ll be asked to change into a cotton gown. Because the MRI machine uses magnets, you can’t have any metal in or on your body during the exam, so you’ll need to remove any jewelry or other metal.

To begin the exam, you’ll lie down on the machine’s table, which will slide into a large cylinder. The MRI technologist will talk you through the scan using an intercom inside the machine. During the scan, you’ll hear noises such as tapping, knocking, and banging. To help you with those sounds, you’ll receive headphones and can choose the type of music you want to listen to. Depending on the reason for the scan, an MRI scan might take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.

Why You Should Choose Gateway Diagnostic Imaging For Your MRI Exam

We know MRI exams are often costly. Compared to hospital MRI exams, our patients see up to 400% cost savings. We work with all major insurance companies, accept CareCredit®, and have financial assistance programs available to ensure you can access the exams you need.

Gateway Diagnostic Imaging makes MRI exams easy by offering extended hours at our 12 convenient locations and Fast Scan technology, reducing scan times. Our goal is to get you the medical imaging you need at a time and place that’s best for you.

At Gateway Diagnostic Imaging, we offer 3T wide-bore MRI at all locations. This means a reduced scan time, high-resolution images and enhanced detection of abnormalities, and a lower risk of distortion or the need for a repeat scan. These machines are also more comfortable, lead to less anxiety and claustrophobia, and can accommodate patients up to 550 pounds.


How soon can I expect my MRI results?

MRI results are typically available within a few days, but your provider will inform you about when and how you’ll receive them.

Why did my provider recommend an MRI scan?

  1. Diagnostic Purposes: MRI can help diagnose various medical conditions, such as injuries, tumors, infections, or abnormalities.
  2. Detailed Imaging: MRI provides highly detailed images, allowing healthcare professionals to better evaluate the structure and function of internal organs and tissues.
  3. Monitoring Conditions: In some cases, MRI is used to monitor the progression or response to treatment of certain medical conditions.
  4. Clarifying Results: If previous tests or imaging results were inconclusive, an MRI may be recommended for a clearer and more detailed view.

Are there any dietary or medication restrictions before the study?

Generally, there are no dietary restrictions, but it’s best to check with your provider about medications and specific preparations.

What documentation or ID should I bring to my imaging center appointment?

Bring a form of photo ID and any referral or documentation provided by your healthcare provider.

How can I know an MRI is safe for me?

MRI is non-invasive and uses no radiation, but always inform your technologist about implants, tattoos, or any medical conditions before the scan.

What does the MRI machine look like?

The MRI machine is a large, cylindrical tube with a table in the middle where patients lie down.

How much does a MRI cost?

The cost of an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan can vary significantly depending on various factors such as:

  1. Geographic Location: Prices can vary based on the region and state.
  2. Facility Type: The type of healthcare facility you go to can impact the cost. Hospitals and outpatient diagnostic imaging centers, such as Gateway Diagnostic Imaging, have very different pricing structures. Gateway Diagnostic Imaging MRI costs up to 400% less than a hospital based MRI.
  3. Type of MRI: The specific type of MRI you need can affect the cost. For example, a standard MRI may be less expensive than a specialized or contrast MRI.
  4. Health Insurance: If you have health insurance, your coverage will play a significant role in determining your out-of-pocket costs. Insurance plans may cover all or a portion of the MRI expenses.
  5. Out-of-Pocket Costs: Even with insurance, you may have out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, co-pays, or co-insurance.

Learn more about the costs associated with an MRI.

Can I get an MRI without an order from my doctor?

You will need a referral from a healthcare provider to schedule an MRI. Healthcare providers, such as your primary care doctor or a specialist, typically order imaging tests like MRIs based on your symptoms, medical history, or the need for further evaluation. They assess whether an MRI is necessary for your specific situation. In addition, your healthcare providers referral and clinical notes are typically used by your insurance to verify and approve coverage for the MRI scan.

What can an MRI show?

An MRI uses magnetic and radio waves to create a 3D image. These images are particularly effective in identifying issues in soft tissue, spine, nerves, ligaments, and similar body parts. MRIs are valuable tools for diagnosing aneurysms & strokes, cancers, injuries to tendons, muscles, ligaments, bones & joints. They are also useful for detecting spinal diseases or damage, and issues related to the urethra, uterus, bladder, vagina, or rectum. Read more about the differences between an MRI and a CT scan.  

Why did my doctor order an MRI with IV contrast?

An IV contrast emphasizes very subtle differences that would not be visible without it. The contrast agent, also known as dye, highlights blood vessels, organs, and specific soft tissues. This helps better identify points of inflammation, blood clots, tumors, and more. Your doctor may have ordered IV contrast if you have a history of concussions, seizures, infection, degenerative changes, and many other reasons. 

How long does an MRI take?

It depends on the nature of the scan. The more detailed a scan needs to be, the longer the scan will take to complete. On average, a scan takes anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes. Read more about what to expect during your MRI 

Will my doctor have access to my scans?

Yes, your physician has access to your scans and reports through the physician portal Synapse. 

Can I get an MRI with a medical implant?

This depends on the type of implant you have. If you have a drug infusion pump, cochlear implant, metal fragments, IUD, artificial joints, as well as other forms of implant or piercing in your body, be sure to let your doctor and technologist know beforehand. If you have an implant card with medical device identification numbers, please share with your imaging center ahead of time and bring this to your appointment. This will inform the MRI tech if that material is safe for scanning.  

What is an MRI coil?

The function of MRI coils is to send and receive signals during the scanning process by placing them around the specific areas of the body to be imaged. They enhance clarity, resolution, and speed of imaging by their proximity to the area of interest. Different types of coils are used depending on the body part being scanned.  

Is an MRI coil uncomfortable?

Many of these coils used are blanket coils; they lay directly on the skin and are comfortable and adaptable to the shape of your body…just like a blanket. You must remain still during the MRI scanning experience, which may be difficult for some people. If you are concerned about not being able to stay still, whether due to pain or any other reason, discuss this with the imaging center beforehand. They might be able to offer solutions such as padding or supports to make you more comfortable.   

What should I wear for my MRI appointment?

Comfort is key, dress like how you would on a relaxed day at home. Soft, loose-fitting clothing is your best bet. However, avoid wearing any clothing with metal parts like zippers, snaps, or underwire bra. Most centers will likely provide you with a gown to wear during the study, but coming in comfy attire can make the pre-scan process smoother.  Read more about how to prepare for you MRI appointment here  

Can I get an MRI while breastfeeding?

Yes, there are no concerns about having imaging done while breastfeeding. Talk to your imaging center and inform them of your breastfeeding prior to the scan. For IV contrast with Iodine and Gadolinium, you and your baby are safe to continue breastfeeding like normal after the procedure. Your doctor will discuss with you if there are certain circumstances or contrast agents that could potentially pose an issue to breastfeeding. If you choose to abstain from breastfeeding after the contrast is administered, you are encouraged to pump and save your breastmilk prior to your appointment.

Can I walk in for an MRI scan?

You need a referral from your doctor. If you have a referral you can go to our request appointment page. We can offer same day and next day appointments. Read more about how scheduling and appointments work here 

Can I get an MRI if I am claustrophobic?

Yes, it may be comforting to know that many modern MRI machines are designed to be more spacious and open. We provide headphones that can help distract from being in a small space. Additionally, there’s a call button in the machine you can press to alert the technician. The tech can speak to you and always hear you during the entire process. In addition to our Open MRI machine, all Gateway Diagnostics centers have a 3T widebore MRI available which provides a more comfortable entrance at 70cm wide. Gateway offers patients innovative Fast Scan technology which significantly decreases the length of the time you spend in the MRI.  

Is an MRI loud?

It can get a bit noisy. The sounds of an MRI machine can be described as a series of loud knocking or tapping noises. This is just the machine taking pictures. We can offer you earplugs and headphones with music or a podcast to dampen the sound.

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Patient Testimonials

Excellent experience beginning at calling for appointment and ending with the easiest MRI due to knowledgeable technician and comfortable equipment. Clean facility and pleasant staff. Highly recommended Gateway Diagnostic Imaging.

Penny G.

Never having an MRI in 68 years, I was a bit skeptical due to my claustrophobia . But, I dropped by the day prior to my appointment and was given the facility tour and process explained. No problem at all. Staff was the best

Danny F.

This was a first time MRI experience for me. The thought of it was unnerving…very unnerving! But, I received several text messages in the days preceding my scan to keep me informed of insurance approval, the out-of-pocket expense I would meet, and affirmation of the appointment time. Upon arrival, I was greeted by the front desk, signed in, and was called back to begin “the process”, all within 5 minutes! The encouragement and reassurance from the two very courteous and professional techs put me at ease! No pain, no fear! Totally an outstanding ‘10’ in every way!

Sherri E.

I’ve had MRIs at different companies in the past, this was the best MRI experience I’ve had, by far! I will now always request this office for any MRI or CT scan.

Kerry B

I had to have an MRI done. I've never had one so I didn't know what to expect. But it was such a great experience. All of the staff were so sweet. I did my initial paperwork online the day I scheduled my appointment. I showed up early to my appointment and I still got called back right away. The environment is almost spa like, so relaxing and calming. Definitely recommend!

Holly T.