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Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

An MRI examination is based on an imaging technique that uses magnetic fields, radio waves and a computer to generate images of parts of the body. The person lies inside a large cylinder-shaped magnet.

The patient is lying in a big cylinder-shaped magnet. Strong radio waves are then sent through the body. This affects the atoms in the body, forcing their protons to change position. When the protons resume their position, they too emit radio waves. The magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine captures these signals and a computer converts them into images, based on the position and intensity of the signals.

No ionizing radiation (x-ray) is used. Only a magnet and radio waves are used to produce images.  No pain is felt during the examination. Some exams require an injection of dye (gadolinium) depending on the part of the body to be examined.    

MRI examinations are performed at two different locations: Hôpital Montfort and the Aline-Chrétien Health Hub.

Our main focus is Ontario patients; we are happy to accommodate patients from Quebec and other provinces.

There is a new Central Intake Program for requesting non-urgent MRI scans in the Ottawa region.

Once the request is sent to Central Intake Program, it reviews the request and its supporting documentation to ensure that everything is complete and that there is no duplication. Central Intake will forward the request to one of the MRI providers in the region based on criteria such as time to obtain a test, type of test, person preference, language preferences, etc.

You can ask your doctor to specify, on the application, if you wish to complete your examination at Hôpital Montfort or at the Aline-Chrétien Health Hub.

For more information on the Central Intake Program, please visit:


For all appointments, remove any piercings or jewelry at home before your appointment. Arrive 45 minutes prior to your exam for appointments at Montfort, or 30 minutes before your appointment at the Aline-Chrétien Health Hub, unless otherwise noted. If you arrive late, your appointment may be rescheduled.

The majority of MRI exams do not require advance preparation, with the exception of the exams below:

Magnetic resonance enterography (MRE)

Instructions: Fasting period of 4 hours (no eating nor drinking) before the examination.

Duration: At least 2 hours because you must arrive earlier to drink a liquid prior to the exam. The examination itself lasts about 30 minutes.

Abdominal MRI (adrenal, MRCP, liver, pancreas, kidneys and bladder)

Instructions: Fasting period of at least 4 hours (no eating nor drinking) before the examination.

MRI examination with an angiogram of the lower limbs

Instructions: Fasting period of at least 4 hours (no eating nor drinking) before the exam.

Rectal MRI

Instructions: Take a Fleet® enema 1 hour before your appointment and you must not eat breakfast.

Breast biopsy

Instructions: Wear a brassiere and stop taking Coumadin/aspirin or anticoagulants before the appointment. 

The magnetic resonance technologist will complete a safety questionnaire with you to ensure that you do not have any metals that are not compatible with the magnet.

For the examination, you will lie on a mobile examination table. Straps and cushions may be used to help you stay in the correct position and remain still during the examination.

Cameras may be placed around or near the area to be examined. These cameras improve the quality of the image of the areas being examined such as the neck, shoulder, knee and breast.

The table slides into a narrow cylinder that contains the MRI machine with magnet. The inside of the machine is well lit and a fan gently blows cool air. The part of your body that will be examined is positioned in the center of the cylinder. The surface of the cylinder may be only a few inches from your face.

You may be offered earplugs or headphones to reduce the noise during the MRI exam.

You must remain still in the MRI machine when it takes the images. An MRI exam is usually done by taking multiple sequences of images. Some sequences last several minutes.

You may be asked to hold your breath at times to help make the images clearer.

You will be allowed to communicate with the technologist throughout the examination.

Some exams require the injection of a contrast material.  In this case, the technologist will administer it intravenously into your hand or arm.   

Once the examination is completed, no further action is required. The radiologist will interpret the results, which will be sent to the referring physician and your family doctor. Unless otherwise specified, the radiologist's report will be available via the Connected Care Patient Portal, and the images of your exam will be available via PocketHealth (see details below).

Patients at Montfort can now easily access their medical imaging with PocketHealth. With just a few clicks, you can use this secure online platform to view, store and seamlessly share your images anytime, on any device. 

How to access your records

  1. Go to to request your images.
  2. Once your images are ready to view, you’ll receive an email from PocketHealth with a secure link.
  3. Click on the link received by email to download and share your images.
  4. Physicians receiving shared images can view or import these images, with no software or account set up needed.

Should you have questions, or need help with PocketHealth, call 1-855-381-8522 or email

Hôpital Montfort is integrated with the Ocean eReferral Network portal. Click the link to access the request.

The Ocean eReferral platform allows you to create and submit requests directly from most electronic medical record systems for physicians in the community.

Therefore, Montfort encourages you to take advantage of this free platform that greatly simplifies and streamlines the process of managing test requests.

Requests received via Ocean will always be clearer and more complete, and allow for more effective and efficient communication with providers and patients.

For more information or assistance with the Ocean integration process, email or visit their website by clicking here.

Additional Notes

This service is also available at the Aline-Chrétien Health Hub.

Patients with an appointment will receive 
an automated reminder by phone, up to
5 days prior to their appointment. 

This service requires a medical referral from your physician.


Registration: room 1B164

Make sure to have your Health card with you when you register.


Phone: 613-748-4907

Fax: 613-748-4951

Additional fax: 1-855-245-7379