Answers to all your
important questions.

Know before you go.

What can I expect?

Your MRI Technologist will ask you to remove all jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aide, dentures, credit cards, or any other metallic objects not listed. These may affect the quality of the images or cause harm when placed within the magnetic field. 

An MRI is a non-invasive procedure – you will feel no pain from the magnetic field or radio waves used for the MRI test. You may, however, hear loud noises from the machine from time to time. This is normal, and we will offer you ear plugs or headphones to sound out these noises. It is important to lie as still as possible. Movement may cause poor image quality and require a repeat of the exam. 

You can bring a prescription sedative if you feel it will help you relax, but if you plan to do so, please let us know and arrange for transportation home after the exam. You will receive the written report back from our Radiologist in 1-3 Business Days.

How should I prepare for my appointment?

An average exam and setup will last 30 minutes per body part and requires no special preparation. You can eat normally and take any medications as you are prescribed by your doctor. Please wear comfortable, loose clothing with no metal snaps, zippers, etc. If you are pregnant or have anything metallic in your body, please let us know ahead of time as an MRI may not be safe for you. Please arrive to your appointment at least 10 minutes early in order to verify and complete required paperwork and allow us to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

What is an MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a test that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radiowave energy to make pictures of organs and structures inside the body. For an MRI test, the area of the body being studied is placed inside a special machine that contains a strong magnet. Pictures from an MRI scan are digital images that can be saved and stored on a computer for further interpretation.

Is a 3T MRI better than the MRI at MIC?

The simple answer is NO.

Recent scientific studies show that MRIs like ours produces images with higher overall image quality compared to 3T MRI. 3T can be helpful in those special situations where image quality is not as an important.

So you get better image quality and our MRI prices are half the price than at the hospital. Better quality, better prices, and the most friendly staff around.

Will my provider receive my images in a timely fashion?

Good news!  If you need a CT or MRI we can push your images and reports straight to the hospital system quickly and easily.

Our turnaround times for reports and scheduling are often much faster than the hospital imaging centers as well. We can pre-authorize the scan with your insurance quicker as well to get you back at it.

Do I need a referral from my doctor?

All patients need a medical order to get an MRI at Montana Imaging Center. 

How can you have such low prices?

Montana Imaging Center developed our business model centered on low fixed costs. We do not have excessive operating or overhead costs like most large hospitals or larger outpatient diagnostic centers. This allows us to offer individuals who may have no insurance, high deductible or co-insurance plans an affordable imaging option without sacrificing quality of service. 

Do you charge additional fees?

At Montana Imaging Center, you always know the total cost of your MRI prior to your appointment. For self-pay patients the total cost includes both the MRI and the written Radiologist report. Most facilities do not disclose the total cost prior to your exam and have additional hidden fees added into the final bill.

Why should I pay out-of-pocket if I have insurance?

Today, high deductible health plans are becoming the norm in order to lower the monthly cost of your insurance coverage. A high deductible health plan (also known as an HDHP) means that you will pay money, out of pocket, for healthcare services until you reach your stated deductible. At that time your insurance plan will start paying for your medical bills. For example, if you have an individual plan with a deductible of $4,000 and you receive a medical bill in the amount of $1,800 for an MRI, the insurance company will not pay anything until you reach your deductible. Therefore, you will pay the entire amount out-of-pocket. Would you rather pay $1,800 for an MRI or would you rather pay as little as $800 for an MRI At MT Imaging Center? $1000 is a considerable savings by most accounts.

Are MRIs safe?

MRI’s are considered extremely safe. Unlike X-Ray or CT scans, there is no radiation involved during an MRI scan. Because MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, no metallic objects can be brought into the MRI room.

What's the difference between an MRI and a CT scan?

CT scans are most commonly used to view bone injuries, problems in the lungs or chest, and for detecting tumors. MRI’s, on the other hand, are better suited for examining soft tissue injuries, particularly in the ligaments or tendons. They’re also good for spinal cord injuries and brain tumors. One of the biggest benefits of an MRI is the fact that the scan is radiation-free. Because the images are produced from a magnet rather than x-ray, patients aren’t at risk of being exposed to any radiation. CT’s, on the other hand, expose patients to low but still significant amounts of radiation. Although CT’s are great for injuries related to bone, they’re not as versatile as MRI’s are overall. They’re also not as easily equipped for getting multiple angles without moving the patient.

Can a friend or family member be with me during the scan?

In most cases, yes. Accompanying guests will be required to fill out an MRI screening form to make sure they are not pregnant and are free of any metallic objects on or inside their body.

How do I pay for my MRI?

For self-pay patients, we accept cash, credit/debit card, HSA cards and CareCredit as forms of payment. Payment is due at the start of your appointment.

How will I receive my report?

We will send the report to you by email within 1-2 business days. We will also fax your report to your referring physician if you have one and request for us to do so.

How should I prepare for a CT scan?

On the day of your exam, wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing.

Avoid clothing with zippers and snaps as metal objects can affect the image.

Depending on the part of the body that is being scanned, you may also be asked to remove hair pins, jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids and any dentures.

You may be asked not to eat or drink anything for one or more hours before the exam.

Women should inform their doctor or x-ray tech if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.

What should I expect during a CT scan?

A CT examination usually takes five minutes to half an hour.

The technologist positions you on the CT table and pillows are used to help keep you still and in the proper position during the scan. The table will move slowly into the CT scanner opening. Depending on the area of the body being examined, the increments of movement may be very small and almost undetectable, or large enough to feel the motion.

Use of contrast during CT scanning.

Some CT scans require oral or IV contrast, FDA approved compounds which enhance normal and abnormal structures. As with any medication, there is a slight risk of an allergic reaction but CT enhanced studies are routine. 

To enhance the visibility of certain tissues or blood vessels, use of different contrast materials may be required. Depending on the type of examination, contrast material may be injected through an IV, swallowed or administered by enema. 

Before administering the contrast material, you should inform the radiologist or technologist of the following:

Any allergies, especially to medications or iodine,

Whether you have a history of diabetes, asthma, kidney problems, heart or thyroid conditions. These conditions may indicate a higher risk of reaction to the contrast material or potential problems eliminating the material from the patient’s system after the exam.

You will be alone in the room during your scan however your technologist can see, hear and speak with you at all times. If necessary, many centers allow a friend or family member to stay in the room with you during the exam. To prevent radiation exposure, the friend or family member will be required to wear a lead apron.

To determine if more images are needed, you may be asked to wait until the images are reviewed.


What will I experience during the procedure?

CT scanning is painless. Depending on the type of scan you are having, your preparation may differ. To enhance the visibility of body tissue or blood vessels, use of different contrast materials may be administered by:

Mouth: You may be asked to swallow water or contrast material, a liquid that allows the radiologist to better see the stomach, small bowel and colon. Some patients find the taste of the contrast material slightly unpleasant, but tolerable.

Enema: For a study of the colon, your exam may require the administration of the contrast material by enema. You will experience a sense of abdominal fullness and may feel an increasing need to expel the liquid. The discomfort is generally mild.

IV injection: To accentuate the appearance between normal and abnormal tissue in organs like the liver and spleen and to better define the blood vessels and kidneys, a contrast material is commonly injected into a vein. You might feel:

  • Flushed or have a metallic taste in your mouth. These are common reactions which disappear in a minute or two.
  • A mild itching sensation. If the itching persists or is accompanied by hives, it can be easily treated with medication.
  • In very rare cases, you may experience shortness of breath or swelling in the throat or other parts of the body. These can be indications of a more serious reaction to the contrast material. Your technologist should be notified immediately.

Get in,
get scanned,
get back out.

Get your scan today and have the report back in 72 hours.