MRI machine

How Long Does an MRI Take?

Welcome to, which provides accurate and reliable information about medical procedures and treatments. Today, we’re answering a common question: how long does an MRI take?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a powerful diagnostic tool that uses strong magnets and radio waves to create detailed images of the body’s internal structures. MRIs are often used to examine the brain, nerves, muscles, blood vessels, organs, tendons, and ligaments and can help diagnose various conditions.

So, how long does an MRI take? It’s difficult to give a precise answer, as the duration of an MRI can vary depending on several factors. Here are some rough estimates:

  • An MRI of the knee typically takes 30-60 minutes.
  • An MRI of the shoulder usually takes 15-45 minutes.
  • An MRI of the head usually takes 30-60 minutes.
  • An MRI of the lumbar spine typically takes 30-60 minutes.
  • An MRI of the cervical spine usually takes 30-45 minutes.
  • An MRI of the heart is typically completed in under 90 minutes.
  • An abdominal MRI generally takes 30-90 minutes.
  • A hip MRI usually takes 30-60 minutes.
  • An ankle MRI typically takes 40 minutes.
  • A pelvic MRI generally takes 30-60 minutes.
  • A chest MRI usually takes less than 90 minutes.
  • A breast MRI typically takes 30-60 minutes.

It’s important to note that these estimates are based on the average duration of an MRI, and your specific scan may take longer or shorter depending on your individual circumstances. For example, some MRIs require a contrast dye, which may extend the duration of the procedure by 15-30 minutes. Additionally, certain types of MRIs may require the use of specialized coils or other equipment, which could also affect the length of the scan.

One of the main factors determining how long an MRI takes is the number of images that need to be taken. In some cases, a single image may be sufficient to diagnose a condition, while in other cases, multiple images may be needed to get a clear picture of the area being examined. For example, an MRI of the knee may only require a few images, while an MRI of the brain may require dozens or hundreds of images.

It’s also worth noting that some people may experience anxiety or discomfort during an MRI, making the procedure seem longer. If you’re feeling anxious or claustrophobic, it’s essential to let your healthcare provider know, as they may be able to offer sedation or other techniques to help you feel more comfortable during the scan.

Overall, the duration of an MRI can vary widely depending on the body part being examined and the specific needs of the patient. However, most MRIs take between 15 and 90 minutes to complete, with many falling somewhere in the 30-60 minute range.

We hope this information has been helpful in understanding how long an MRI takes. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact a healthcare professional for more information.

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