Part 1: Why are Sounds Generated by the MRI Scanner?

Our MRI machines at the Cincinnati Children’s Radiology Department are most simply described as one big superconducting magnet. Inside the magnet are copper coils that conduct the electricity, making it an electromagnet.

As the MRI technologist begins the scan, rapid pulses of electricity are sent through the copper coils. The weird noises you would hear are the copper coils vibrating. Different types of exams require various amounts of electricity to rapidly flow through the copper coils.

Below are some MRI scanner noise samples.

Ax T2 FLAIR, normally used for brain scans
Ax T2, normally used for abdomen or brain scans
DT1, normally used for brain scans
SWAN, normally used for brain scans
T1 Bravo, normally used for brain scans

Stay tuned for Part 2 to hear more MRI scanner sounds!

Contributions by Julie Young, (Radiology MRI Manager).

Glenn Miñano

About the Author: Glenn Miñano

Glenn Miñano is a media specialist in the Department of Radiology, providing graphic design, photography, printing, video services, and administration of the department’s online properties. His works have been published in several medical articles, such as the American Journal of Radiology and the American Institute of Ultrasound. He has been providing these services to the Radiology Department since 1996.

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