MRI – Magnetic Resonance Imaging

MRI scan

What is an MRI?

MRI, which stands for magnetic resonance imaging, is a radiology test that makes detailed pictures inside your body using powerful magnets, radio waves, and a computer. Unlike X-rays or CT scans, an MRI scan does not use radiation to create images.

An MRI can be done on different parts of the body and helps doctors diagnose injury or disease, as well as monitor recovery from treatment. Read our frequently asked questions for more information on magnetic resonance imaging at SUMA.

How Much is an MRI Scan?

We believe in offering affordable and quality MRI services. Learn more about the cost of an MRI scan at SUMA, including our new, reduced MRI cash price.

How much does an MRI cost?

Types of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Machines

Not all MRI scanners are the same. The various types of machines can be differentiated by their magnetic field strength, or Tesla (T), and by their orientation such as open, closed, or upright.

Stand-Up MRI Scanners

The Fonar upright MRI machine is extremely beneficial for seeing the effects of weight-bearing on the body and better serves claustrophobic patients or patients weighing up to 500 lbs.

Woman seated in stand-up MRI

Low-field MRI Scanners (Open MRI)

Low-field scanners are open on three sides and have a range of 0.2T – 0.5T. These scanners have decreased image quality because the magnet does not cover the entire body. These scanners are useful for patients who are claustrophobic or weigh more than 300 lbs.

Open MRI machine

High-field MRI Scanners (Closed MRI)

High-field scanners, typically referred to as closed, use magnets that can range from 0.5T up to 3.0T and therefore provide high-quality images. However, they have a smaller, narrower tube which can be uncomfortable for claustrophobic patients and cannot handle patients who weigh more than 300 lbs.

Traditional MRI

CT Scan vs. MRI

CT scans and MRI scans provide detailed diagnostic images of your body in approximately one-quarter inch thick slices. However, they generate these images in very different ways. Here are some critical differences between magnetic resonance imaging scans and CT scans.


Although either is suitable in some cases, CT scans and MRIs have different purposes. MRIs usually do a better job diagnosing issues with soft tissues, tendons, joints, and ligaments. MRIs are frequently ordered to scan the brain, spine, breast, neck, abdomen, and muscles; MRI scans are particularly useful for evaluating the spine and spinal ligaments.

CT scans, on the other hand, are very helpful in diagnosing serious head, chest, abdomen, spine, and pelvis injuries, especially fractures. They are also used to pinpoint the location and size of tumors.


CT scans use x-rays to produce diagnostic images and therefore requires that the patient receive a small dose of ionizing radiation.

MRI scans do not use ionizing radiation. Instead, magnetic resonance imaging uses radio waves and a powerful magnetic field to produce diagnostic images.


MRI scans also take longer than CT scans. MRIs take an average of 30 minutes to complete, whereas CT scans can often be completed in less than 5 minutes.

Where to get an MRI

If you’ve been injured in an accident, you may be wondering “where can I get an MRI?” We are located in Golden Valley, MN, and provide magnetic resonance imaging services to people all over Minnesota and the Midwest.

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