What You Will Learn

Check out the basics of MRI scans—all based on authoritative health information from the National Library of Medicine. 

Get answers to common questions asked about MRI scans.

  • What are other names for MRI scans?

  • What is an MRI scan?

  • What is an MRI scan used to diagnose?

  • How long does an MRI scan take?

  • Is MRI scan painful?

  • How is an MRI scan done?

  • What do you need to know before an MRI scan?

MRI Scans Explained From the Experts Video

This video brought to you by The NASH Facts™ project—an organization committed to bringing you expert information from trusted sources related to fatty liver disease and NASH.


MRI Scans


What Are Other Names for MRI Scans?

MRI scans are also called:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • NMR
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance


What Is an MRI Scan?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a large magnet and radio waves to look at organs and structures inside your body. 


What Is an MRI Scan Used to Diagnose?

Health care professionals use MRI scans to diagnose a variety of conditions, from torn ligaments to tumors. MRIs are very useful for examining the brain and spinal cord.


How Long Does an MRI Scan Take?

Doing the scan can take a long time, and you must stay still.


Is MRI Scan Painful?

The scan is painless.


How Is an MRI Scan Done?

During the scan, you lie on a table that slides inside a tunnel-shaped machine.

The MRI machine makes a lot of noise. The technician may offer you earplugs.


What Do You Need to Know Before an MRI Scan?

Before you get a scan, tell your doctor if you:

  • Are pregnant
  • Have pieces of metal in your body. You might have metal in your body if you have a shrapnel or bullet injury or if you are a welder
  • Have metal or electronic devices in your body, such as a cardiac pacemaker or a metal artificial joints

The NASH Facts™ Project would like to thank MedlinePlus from the National Library of Medicine.

MedlinePlus brings together authoritative health information from the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other government agencies and health-related organizations.



What You Should Remember

  • MRI scans can take a long time, and you must stay still
  • MRI scans are painless
  • The MRI machine makes a lot of noise so you may need earplugs
  • MRIs are useful to help diagnose different conditions

Take The Next Step

Your doctor may use the following imaging tests to help diagnose NAFLD and NASH.

Learn more about Fatty Liver Diagnosis.