Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) 2018-03-29T12:53:28-07:00

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a type of medical imaging that does not use radiation, and is excellent for showing soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments, organs) and body structures that are completely surrounded by bone (brain, spinal cord).  At Zuckerberg San Francisco General, we have two state-of-the-art GE Signa 1.5T, v.15.0 magnets.


  • Phone number: 415-206-5949

Hours of Operation:

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun
8:00AM – 12:30PM 8:00AM – 12:30PM 8:00AM – 12:30PM 8:00AM – 12:30PM 8:00AM – 12:30PM
1:30PM – 4:30PM 1:30PM – 4:30PM 1:30PM – 4:30PM 1:30PM – 4:30PM 1:30PM – 4:30PM


Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I get an MRI?

Your doctor will order an MRI if s/he feels that this exam is the best way to “see” the part of the body s/he is concerned about (compared to x-rays, CT, or Ultrasound).  The request will be reviewed by our staff and your exam will be scheduled according to its urgency.  We schedule appointments 7 days a week, from 7:30 am to 7:15 pm on weekdays, and from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm on weekends.

How do I prepare for my exam?

Unless we have given you specific instructions, you may eat and take your medications as usual.  It is best to wear clothing that do not have any metal fasteners (zippers, buttons, hooks, snaps) or metallic decorations.  Leave any jewelry at home.  You will also need to remove any other loose metallic objects on yourself (hairpins, keys, coins, cigarette lighters, etc.) and items with magnetic stripes (ATM/credit cards, ID/driver’s license).  You may leave your belongings with your companion, or you can secure your things in one of our lockers.  Also, please let our receptionist or technologist know if you have any metal in your body from surgery or any accidents.  If you know that you have claustrophobia (fear of being in closed spaces), and your doctor has given you anxiety medication specifically for this exam, our staff will let you know when to take it.  Because San Francisco General Hospital is a trauma center, there may be emergency patients that will be seen ahead of you, and your wait may be quite long.  In this case, you will be given the option to reschedule your appointment.

What Should I Expect?

You will lie down on a special table that will slide you into a tunnel about 7 ft. long, and 2 ft. wide.  With the exception of lower leg exams (knee, calf, ankle, foot), you will be going in head first.  Because the machine makes loud noises (similar to a jackhammer), you will be given earplugs prior to the start of your exam.  We will also give you a call button that sounds off an alarm if you need to contact the technologist during the exam (the technologist will be outside the scan room).  Most MRI exams last 30 to 90 min.  It is very important to hold as still as you can at this time.

How Do I Get My Results?

We send the results of the MRI exam to the doctor who ordered it in approximately 2 days.  Because many pictures are taken in many different angles, our doctors (called radiologists) need more time to review them.  Please make an appointment with your doctor to discuss the MRI results.