Preparing for a Shoulder MRI

March 13, 2019 – 2 min read

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Preparing for a Shoulder MRI

If you’ve been experiencing shoulder pain that isn’t going away, your doctor may recommend a shoulder MRI. This process uses magnetic resonance imaging to create detailed pictures of your muscles, ligaments and soft tissues, not just your bones.

Compared to an X-ray or CT scan, an MRI does not use radiation while still capturing highly accurate images and detail. Completely non-invasive and painless, a shoulder MRI can help diagnose the source of your pain.

Why You Might Need a Shoulder MRI

A shoulder MRI can help to diagnose or assess a number of conditions including the following:

  • Arthritis
  • Fracture
  • Infections
  • Joint degeneration
  • Labral tears
  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Sports injuries
  • Tears in ligaments or tendons
  • Tumors

Additionally, MRIs may be used to assess your progress as you recover from shoulder surgery.

What to Expect During Your Shoulder MRI

An MRI shouldn’t be a stressful experience, and at American Health Imaging, our team works hard every day to make you feel as comfortable as possible during your shoulder MRI.

Unless told otherwise by your physician or imaging technician, you can take medications and eat normally before the procedure. Your shoulder will need to be bare during the procedure, so make sure to wear clothing that can be easily removed for a medical gown on your top half.

Any metal on your body can affect the MRI — there are giant magnets in the machine. Leave your jewelry and watch at home, including all body piercings. Tell your doctor if you have any metal implants, including an IUD. You should also not wear makeup, as that can have metals in it.

If you have claustrophobia or anxiety in small spaces, be sure to request an Advanced Open MRI. This new technology can take the same detailed pictures of your shoulder with almost no confinement. Your doctor may also be able to prescribe anti-anxiety medication for you to take before the procedure.

At AHI, You Can Afford a Shoulder MRI

We know that healthcare costs can add up fast. That’s why we provide superior services at affordable rates below hospital imaging costs. Our professionals work with both patients and doctors to set up your procedures. A shoulder MRI generally takes about an hour, so our many locations and flexible hours make it easy to get imaging without having to take time off work. Make an appointment today.


If you’re having shoulder pain, find out how much a shoulder MRI might cost using our cost calculator today.

This post was updated on 05/05/2021.