Musculoskeletal MRI

Musculoskeletal MRI exams can evaluate large and small joints, ligaments, tendons and connective tissue.

Washington Radiology's board-certified physicians offer expertise delivered with care and compassion to ease patient anxiety and provide an exceptional experience.


One of our registered technologists will position you on the padded MRI table. They will position the part of your body to be scanned and make sure you are relaxed and comfortable. For some exams, we will play music for you. Your exam table will carefully ease into the MRI scanner. As the equipment performs the scan sequence, you will hear noise from the magnet, which is normal. Your view will be limited by the scanner, and you may feel a slight vibration or warmth. Some patients fall asleep during this time. It’s important that you are as still as possible during the exam to obtain the highest-quality images. Based on the type of MRI exam you are having and the number of images required, each series of scans will last 20 to 45 minutes.

A registered MRI technologist will help you prepare for the exam, position you on the table and perform the exam as directed by the radiologist. Together, this experienced medical team will oversee your care and ensure you are comfortable. The exam will be interpreted by a board-certified radiologist with specialized expertise in musculoskeletal MRI evaluations and reporting.

A board-certified radiologist will interpret your scan and the dictated results will be sent to your referring physician, usually within 24 to 48 hours. Your physician will then share the results with you.

There are some situations where MRI is not recommended due to the use of the high-field magnet. We will review these details with you during scheduling to be sure you are an appropriate candidate for MRI. These conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • A heart pacemaker
  • Some other implanted electronic medical devices such as cochlear implants
  • Severe claustrophobia

The Washington Radiology nurse overseeing your care will call you several days before the exam to review preparation and any conditions that may make it unsafe to have an MRI.

Preparing for Your Exam

Patient peace of mind starts with the right preparation. In addition to the written order from your physician, bring any prior images or reports from outside Washington Radiology with you to your appointment, if related to the reason for your visit with us.  

For all MRI patients, we request the following:

  • Continue to take any medications prescribed by your physician, unless otherwise directed.
  • Wear comfortable clothing without metal zippers, buttons, hooks, etc.
  • Because of the magnetic field, do not wear metal hair clips or eye makeup that may contain small metallic flecks, which can interfere with your scan.
  • Leave jewelry and valuables at home.
  • A secure locker will be available to leave metal objects, like your keys and watch.

MRI With and/or Without Contrast

  • Inform us if you have a pacemaker, artificial heart valves or any metal objects in your body, or if you are pregnant or nursing.
  • Do not eat or drink two hours before your exam.

If you have follow-up questions about these MRI preparations, contact the Washington Radiology office where your exam is scheduled and ask to speak with the nurse.

Our Locations


Fairfax, VA


3022 Williams Drive
Fairfax, VA 22031

Chevy Chase, MD


4445 Willard Avenue
Suite 200
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

Washington, DC


2141 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037

Potomac, MD


12505 Park Potomac Avenue
Potomac, MD 20854