Q: What is MRI?
A: Unlike X-rays or Cat Scans, MRI does not use ionizing radiation. Instead, MRI creates high-quality images using a powerful magnet along with radio waves, and a computer. Protons located inside the atoms of our bodies continually spin at random until they are placed in a magnetic field where they line up together and spin in the same direction. Directing a radio frequency signal at a body part inside the magnet disrupts this alignment and turning it off allows the protons to go back in alignment. Different tissues go back into alignment at different rates allowing the computer to generate these high quality images.

MRI can detect certain diseases much earlier than other more conventional imaging techniques. Physicians can focus the scanning equipment to one part of the body at a time, taking pictures of the head, neck, back, abdomen, pelvis, shoulder, elbow, knee, ankle, foot, and blood vessels.

Q: What types of medical problems is MRI able to detect?
A: MRI is best at seeing “soft tissue” such as the brain, spinal cord, abdomen, pelvis and musculoskeletal system. MRI is also valuable when looking at blood vessels and most recently breast MRI. Please visit the following link for more detailed information regarding individual exams.


Q: How soon can I schedule myself for the MRI?
A: STI is open 6 days(Mon-Sat) a week from 7am-11pm and Sundays for emergencies. We can schedule you within one or two business days. In emergency cases, we can schedule you the same day. Simply call 607-729-1999 and we will be happy to assist you.

Q: How should I prepare to have an MRI?
A: Once you are scheduled for an appointment, our office will contact you, review your medical history and go over a checklist that will clear you for your MRI. On the day of your exam you will be asked to bring:

  • A physicians order
  • Insurance cards
  • Any x-rays or reports from other exams that you have recently had pertaining to the reason you are having an MRI.
  • Photo ID
  • Stent or Implant cards

Because this exam utilizes a very powerful magnet, no metal is allowed in the exam room. We would be happy to provide you with hospital attire or, if you would like to wear your own clothing, it must be constructed of simple cotton without snaps or zippers. We will also give you a locker for your belongings such as purses, watches, jewelry and wallets. However, please leave large quantities of money and expensive jewelry at home.

  • If you are scheduled at our 3T facility you will be required to change into MRI safe attire provided by us.
  • All piercings and jewelry must be removed prior to your MRI
  • If you are wearing heavy eye make-up we may ask you to remove it prior to your exam.

If you regularly take pain medication, please take it an hour before the exam so you can be more comfortable.

Q: What happens during a MRI & how long does the exam take?
A: Once you have been checked in, one of our nurses will show you to the locker room and review your paper work with you. A technologist will then bring you into the exam room and position you for your test. We want you to be as comfortable as possible, so please let us know if you have any special needs. Before we begin we will offer you music or earplugs due to the knocking noise the exam makes. If you would like to bring in your own CD we will be happy to play it for you. Once you are comfortable we will move the table so that the body part being scanned is centered in the middle of the magnet. You will be asked to hold as still as you can while we perform the exam. Most exams take between 30-60 minutes. Some exams require an injection of a contrast agent called Gadolinium. This injection is given into the vein of your arm using a small butterfly needle.

Q: What if I have claustrophobia?
A: At Southern Tier Imaging all of our magnets are designed with image quality and patient comfort in mind. That is why we only use High Field Strength Imaging Systems that feature either an Open Bore or Flared Bore design. Our experienced staff understands the special needs of claustrophobic patients and will work with you to see that your imaging needs are met with compassion and quality.
We are the only facility in the area that can offer claustrophobic patients:

  • Open bore, high field quality images
  • Head & Neck Imaging free from having to have a coil over the patient’s face
  • High field quality, open bore, contrast free angiography
  • Sound reduction technology, reducing scanning noise by 90%
  • The widest bore in the industry (71 cm gantry).

* If you think that you will benefit from a mild sedative, please speak with your referring physician.

Q: When will my doctor get my results?

A: Your doctor will get the results of your exam in about three business days.In some instances, your doctor may request an immediate report. If this is the case, your doctor will receive a preliminary report as soon as the case is read, followed by a final report that will be processed within three days.