Patient Guide

We offer outpatient, inpatient and emergency imaging services to meet the demand for high-quality imaging services in the Madison area. Turville Bay MRI Center provides compassionate and innovative patient care.


MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. An MRI offers a safe and efficient method of diagnosing many conditions without the use of x-rays. In many cases, MRI can lead to early detection and treatment of diseases without surgery or biopsy. It is a non-invasive method of examining the bones and soft tissue of the body, including organs, muscles and tendons, and requires little patient preparation. The MRI technologists who perform the tests are highly trained, registered by the American Registry of Radiological Technologists, and certified in MRI. If you have questions, please contact us.

Interpreter’s are available. Please contact Turville Bay so we can schedule an interpreter for the patient.

Print Friendly Patient Guide (PDF)

Scheduling Your MRI

Your physician’s office will call us to make an appointment for your diagnostic test. Your MRI will be performed at our easy-to-access, freestanding facility on Deming Way in Middleton, or at one of our MRI suites at St. Mary's or UnityPoint Health-Meriter Hospital. Your MRI will be scheduled according to need and appointment availability. Interpreters are available but must be requested in advance. Once your appointment is set, we will mail you a packet of informational materials and health-related forms.

MRI is a non-invasive test that uses a strong magnetic field and radio frequency waves in a manner that is painless and with few risks. Of concern, however, is the effect that both the magnetic field and radio frequency wave could have on implanted devices within the body. If an object exists, either surgically implanted or acquired during an accident or injury, there are certain conditions under which an MRI might not be safe. Patients should notify the receptionist or technologist prior to their appointment if they have any of the following:

  • An implanted pacemaker, defibrillator ("AICD"), or heart valve
  • An implanted pump device (such as an insulin or pain-medication pump)
  • An inner ear implant
  • An aneurysm clip within the brain
  • Previous eye injury involving a metallic object
  • Shrapnel

Preparing for an MRI

There is no special preparation for an MRI examination. There is no need for a change in daily routine. All prescription medications can be taken normally. However, patients undergoing MRI examination of the pelvis and abdomen will be asked not to eat or drink for 4 hours prior to imaging. No special preparation is required for other body examinations.

What to Bring

  1. Please bring a picture ID, health insurance card with your policy number, the name of the policyholder (spouse or other family member whose name is on the insurance policy), and the policyholder’s date of birth and social security number.
  2. If you were injured at work or in an automobile accident, please bring along any claim information, such as claim numbers, insurance carrier, and contact person, so that we can bill the correct party.
  3. If you have previous x-rays, CT scans, or MRI scans of the area that we will be scanning in your possession, bring them to your appointment.
  4. Bring completed health forms from the packet we mailed to you.
  5. Implanted device card/information, if you have it.

What to Wear

Because MRI uses a powerful magnet, objects with metal or metallic properties (e.g., watches, cell phones, iPods, credit cards, coins, pocket knives, etc.) will not be permitted in the MRI room. All patients will be asked to change into facility provided clothing. This removes any metal related material for safety and image quality related issues. Patients will be asked to remove other metallic items such as jewelry, eye glasses, wigs (with metallic mesh or pins), and non-permanent dentures so that they do not interfere with exam quality or pose a safety concern. Lockers are provided to secure your clothing and valuables.

Who Performs Your Exam?

Exams are performed by registered MRI Technologists. When you arrive for your appointment and complete the necessary paperwork, one of our technologists or tech-aides will greet you in the lobby and escort you to the scan area. The technologist or tech-aide will review the health-history/exam forms you completed to ensure you are properly prepared for the exam. A technologist will also explain the exam and answer any questions.

During The Exam

The scan room contains a large, donut-shaped magnet with a padded table, which moves you into the center of the machine once you are positioned. Whether you go into the machine head first or feet first (and how far in you go) is determined by the type of exam being performed. In some cases, a special piece of equipment called a surface coil, which is like a radio antenna, is placed on or wrapped around the part of your body that is being imaged. During the exam you will be required to hold very still. This is for exam quality purposes. In some cases you may be asked to hold your breath to reduce respiratory motion. There is no pain or other sensation during the exam; however, an MRI is a noisy machine that produces intermittent humming, clicking, and knocking sounds. Earplugs are available, and we provide an assortment of music to help you relax. You are also welcome to bring your own CD. The scanner is equipped with an emergency-assistance alarm button and a two-way intercom for communication with the technologist. For some exams, a "contrast agent" (Gadolinium based drug) will be injected into a vein in your arm to help diagnose specific pathologies.

How long does an MRI exam take?

The length of MRI examinations can vary from 20 minutes to one hour, averaging 45 minutes. Each test consists of several sequences or collections of images gathered over 2 to 10 minutes.

After the exam

After checking to be sure the exam yielded high-quality images, the technologist will remove you from the scanner. There are no post-exam instructions. You may resume your normal diet and activities.

MRI Safety

Please be sure that the MRI Procedure Screening Form we mailed you is completely filled out and brought to your appointment. The following represents a list of contraindicated and MRI-compatible devices. Please note, this is not a complete list but should serve as a guideline. If you require more information, please check with the MRI staff or visit this informative website:

Contraindicated Objects / Implanted Devices

  • cardiac pacemaker*
  • implanted cardiac defibrillator
  • neurostimulator*
  • any type of implanted biostimulator*
  • any type of internal electrode(s), including pacing wires and cochlear implants
  • implanted insulin pump*
  • Swan-Ganz catheter
  • any type of electronic, mechanical or magnetic implant*
  • implanted drug infusion device*
  • metallic foreign body in the eye (if suspected, please contact us immediately)
  • ear implants (some are compatible, check with MRI staff)
  • aneurysm clips (some are compatible, please submit operative notes for review by the radiologist)
  • shrapnel or bullets (may not be contraindicated, check with MRI staff)
  • Pill Cam-Capsule Endoscopy Device

Compatible Objects or Devices

  • surgical clips
  • staples  (ideally removed)
  • vascular access ports
  • intraventricular shunt*
  • HALO vest
  • diaphragm
  • IUD
  • penile prosthesis (most are compatible, check with MRI staff)
  • wire mesh
  • pessary
  • any implanted orthopedic items (i.e. pins, rods, screws, nails, clips, plates, wires etc)
  • heart valve prothesis (most are compatible, check with MRI staff)
  • any type of intravascular coil, filter, stent*

*Many of these devices are MRI compatible, but before MRI is done we need to know the type of device implanted and check to see if it has tested in a magnetic field.

PLEASE NOTE: Although, these items are compatible, they can cause severe artefacts (distortions) on the images in the area of the implant.

Objects To Be Removed

  • hearing aid
  • orbital/eye prosthesis
  • any type of implant held in place by a magnet
  • artificial limb
  • hair pins
  • wigs
  • jewelry
  • dentures
  • eyeglasses
  • credit cards, bank cards and anything else with a magnetic encoding will be erased by the magnet

PLEASE NOTE: Metal objects can become dangerous projectiles if they are taken into the scan room. They can be pulled out of pockets and off the body without warning and fly toward the opening of the magnet at very high speeds, posing a threat to anyone in the room. The more mass an object has, the more dangerous it can be, as the force with which it is attracted to the magnet is much stronger.

Frequently Asked Questions

Having trouble viewing these FAQ's - this will work for older browsers.