Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an MRI?

MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging and is performed using radio waves and magnetic fields. This is a diagnostic imaging test that is a medical procedure and is prescribed by your doctor.

Is an MRI safe?

Magnetic resonance imaging uses low-energy, non-ionizing radio waves, and is therefore safe for most people. There are no known risks or side effects associated with MRI. Women who are pregnant may need to gain approval from an obstetrician prior to the exam. Pacemakers and other implants will need to be approved prior to the exam to ensure they are MRI safe.

Do I need a doctor’s order for an MRI?

Yes, in order to perform an MRI, we must receive an order from your doctor, nurse practitioner or chiropractor. This is to ensure we are performing the appropriate exam. You or your health care provider can fax this order to us at (844) 332-3974 or you can upload while scheduling online.

If you do not have an MRI order but feel you are a candidate to have an MRI scan, we suggest you speak with your physician, nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant or chiropractor.

Is there a patient size limit?

The weight limit for most of our technology is 350 lbs. The weight limit for our wide bore machine in Vernon Hills, IL is 550 lbs.

What is a contrast injection?

Contrast is a special dye that is used by radiologists to see certain areas of the body more clearly. The dye is given intravenously during your exam. Please see our Services page for more information.

How long does an MRI take?

Most MRI exams take approximately 15-35 minutes. This time varies depending on the body part being scanned and how still the patient is able to remain during each image sequence. Each sequence takes roughly 5 minutes. Most patients are with us for 45 minutes to an hour to allow for check-in and exam preparation.

Can I have an MRI if I have a fear of small spaces (claustrophobia)?

Yes, you can! While the machines are called “closed MRIs,” they are actually open at both ends! Our MRI technologists are there the whole time and will give you a detailed explanation of what to expect before and during the exam to make sure you feel secure and comfortable with the process. They are also trained with a variety of techniques to help you stay calm through the procedure. For example, a cool, dark cloth can go over your eyes to aid in relaxation, or you can listen to your favorite music. There is also a special button inside the machine to notify the technologist if you need to stop. Additionally, you may also want to consider an anti-anxiety medication (don’t operate car after use), which should be discussed with and prescribed by your doctor.

How do I dress for my MRI?

The MRI exam room is highly magnetic. Therefore, it is essential that you remove all metal from your body prior to your scan. This includes jewelry and hair pins, as well as clothing with metal, such as: bra underwire, buttons and zippers. Comfortable, 100% cotton clothing is always the way to go. We have changing rooms and locked spaces here for your things, so you’re welcome to bring a change of clothes. If you would prefer, though, we do provide scrubs that you can change into as well. If you have a piercing that cannot be removed, we require written documentation from your piercer stating that the metal used is non-magnetic.

And please note: The MRI room must be kept at a low temperature to protect the magnet, so you may find that temperature to be on the cooler side (although there are also people that find it to be warm). For those of you who get cold easily, we recommend you dress warmly. We do also provide blankets to keep you warm and comfortable.

Is the MRI machine loud?

While we wish all scans could be Silent Scans, the reality is: MRI machines make noise. It’s not a horror movie scream or anything, but something more akin to an old washing machine. Luckily, the good news is the headphones we supply do a pretty good job of minimizing the outside noises!

How do I determine where I should go for my MRI scan?

When shopping for an MRI, it is essential to consider quality, price and the overall experience.
1. Ensure the MRI provider is accredited by the American College of Radiology and that their radiologists are sub-specialized in the area of your scan.
2. Make sure the scanner quality (closed/open/3T) is optimal for your scan type.
3. Check on the price beforehand and understand exactly what you are being billed for and if there are any extra costs such as for contrast, the radiologist’s read or anything else.

At Smart Choice MRI all exams are interpreted by subspecialized, board-certified radiologists from the Cleveland Clinic, one of the top five health systems in the country. This means the physicians interpreting your exam are nationally recognized imaging experts in their respective fields.

What makes Smart Choice MRI the "smarter choice"?

– Whether your insurance company pays or you’re paying out of pocket, you’ll always save thousands on your MRI at Smart Choice. Our pricing includes the cost of your scan as well as the expert opinion of the Cleveland Clinic radiologist that interprets the scan and provides the results.

– Our scheduling and insurance specialists work to make your process quick and easy.

– Our clinics are conveniently located with parking right outside the door.

– It is calming inside the clinics, with coffee, tea and freshly baked cookies available in the lobby.

– During your scan you can listen to your choice of music and our MRI technologists are trained to make your scan as pleasant as possible.

How do I schedule an appointment?

Scheduling an appointment at Smart Choice MRI is easy! And we offer multiple ways to schedule an appointment:
 1. Schedule Online
 2. Chat online with a representative using the chat button on the right side of your screen
 3. Call us at (844) 633-3674. We are available Monday-Friday from 7am to 7pm CT and on Saturdays from 8am to 1pm CT.

What is the phone number for my nearest clinic?

All calls and questions come through centralized scheduling. You can call us at (844) 633–3674 and we’ll answer your questions or direct you to your closest location. Our fax number is (844) 332–3974.

What is the fax number?

All faxes can be sent to (844) 332-3974. This is our fax number for all locations.

Do I need a doctor’s order for an MRI?

Yes, in order to perform an MRI, we must receive an order from your doctor, nurse practitioner or chiropractor. This is to ensure we are performing the appropriate exam. You or your health care provider can fax this order to us at (844) 332-3974 or you can upload while scheduling online.

If you do not have an MRI order but feel you are a candidate to have an MRI scan, we suggest you speak with your physician, nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant or chiropractor.

When is Smart Choice MRI open?

Smart Choice MRI is open Monday to Friday from 7am to 7pm CT and Saturdays from 8am to 1pm CT. Additionally, some of our clinics have extended hours and are open earlier and close later. We are committed to working around your busy schedule, which is why we offer convenient lunchtime, evening and weekend appointments.

Why does Smart Choice MRI cost thousands less than the hospital?

Smart Choice MRI has an efficient service model, which allows us to keep your costs low. Because our stand-alone clinics only specialize in MRI, we are able to devote ourselves to your care, while also having lower overhead costs. High-quality is standard at Smart Choice MRI, from our 1.5 Tesla GE technology to scans read by expert radiologists at the Cleveland Clinic. Our prices are all-inclusive and thousands less than average, regardless of your insurance coverage status.

How am I billed for my MRI?

We ask that all patients pay the estimated out-of-pocket costs for their MRI at the time of their appointment. This is one of the ways that helps us keep your cost for the MRI as low as possible. We accept debit card, credit card, check or money order. We do not accept cash. If you cannot or do not want to pay up front, we partner with carecredit.com, which is a financing option that gives you 6 months to pay off your exam.

How do I pay an outstanding balance for my MRI?

Need to pay an outstanding balance for your MRI? We have a few options:
1. Pay your bill online at pay.imaginepay.com. You will need:
  a. The account number located on your bill (where do I find my account number?)
  b. The provider number: SCMR
  c. The patient’s date of birth
2. Mail a check to the Smart Choice MRI corporate office with attention to billing. Our address is 10532 North Port Washington Rd, Suite 1B, Mequon, WI 53092

Does Smart Choice MRI accept insurance?

Smart Choice MRI is an in-network, top-tier provider for most major insurance companies. We have dedicated insurance specialists ready to take care of all insurance matters for our patients, from determining out-of-pocket costs to getting authorization for the exam.

Your coverage will depend on your specific insurance plan. If you would like to see if Smart Choice is in-network with your insurance, you can give us a call at (844) 633-3674, chat us online, or you can call the customer service number on the back of your insurance card.

Don’t have insurance? We can help! As long as you have a doctor’s order, you can still get an MRI. We have all-inclusive self-pay pricing. Call us at (844) 633-3674 or chat us online for more information. Or check out our flexible payment options on our pricing page if you need help paying.

How do I get an MRI without insurance?

At Smart Choice MRI, as long as you have an order from your doctor, chiropractor, physician’s assistant, or nurse practioner, you can get an MRI using our self-pay option which is always all-inclusive and thousands less. Call us at (844) 633-3674 or chat us online for more information, or check out our flexible payment options on our pricing page if you need help paying.

Where is Smart Choice MRI located? How do I find an affordable MRI center near me?

We currently have many locations across Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota. See our locations page to find an affordable option near your home or office. Our clinics are conveniently located just off of expressways, with plenty of parking in front.

Where are Smart Choice MRI clinics located in Illinois?

We have 6 clinics located in Illinois.

Bolingbrook, IL: Located at 757 E. Boughton Road, Bolingbrook, IL, off of I-355 and Boughton Road, in the shopping area by L.A. Tan.

Chicago, IL: Located at 1845 Clybourn Ave., Unit F, Chicago, IL. This is in the Lincoln Park Clybourn Galleria off of North Avenue and Clybourn Avenue, next to Lash and across the street from Trader Joe’s.

Glenview, IL: Located at 3806 Willow Road, Glenview, IL. This is off of I-294 and Willow Road, near L.A. Fitness and Starbucks.

Oswego, IL: Located at 2754 US-34, Oswego, IL, off of I-88 and Eola Road, next to the UPS Store.

Schaumburg, IL: Located at 1406 N Meacham Road, Schaumburg, IL. This is off of Golf Road and Meacham Road, next to Fedex Office and Noodles & Company.

Vernon Hills, IL: Located at 850 N Milwaukee Ave., Vernon Hills, IL, off of Townline Road and Milwaukee Ave. It is in the shopping area, next to Uncle Julio’s and Northwestern Medicine.

Where are Smart Choice MRI clinics located in Minnesota?

We have 3 clinics located in Minnesota.

Eden Prairie, MN: Located at 13000 Technology Drive, Eden Prairie, MN, off of the Prairie Center Drive exit on Highway 212. In the shopping area by Rusty Taco.

Minneapolis, MN: Located at 1704 E 66th St, Minneapolis, MN. This is off of MN-62 and MN-77, next to the Caribou Coffee.

Woodbury, MN: Located at 1605 Queens Drive, Woodbury, MN, off of I-494 and Valley Creek Road. In the shopping area next to the Pure Barre.

Where are Smart Choice MRI clinics located in Wisconsin?

We have 5 clinics located in Wisconsin.

Appleton, WI: Located at 3525 Calumet St., Suite 1500, Appleton, WI. This is off of WI-441 and Calumet Street, near Walmart.

Kenosha, WI: Located at 7224 118th Ave, Kenosha, WI. This is north of Highway 50 off of I-94 and in the shopping area with Buffalo Wild Wings.

Richfield, WI: Located at 3010 Helsan Dr, Richfield, WI. This is off of I-41 and WI-145.

Waukesha, WI: Located at 2005 Silvernail Road, Waukesha, WI. This is near where Silvernail Road and Highway T intersect off of I-94 and Grandview Boulevard. In the shopping area near the McDonald’s.

West Milwaukee, WI: Located at 1621 Miller Parkway, West Milwaukee, WI. This is off of I-94 and Miller Parkway, near Chili’s Grill & Bar.

What technology is used by Smart Choice MRI?

Smart Choice MRI offers state-of-the-art 1.5 tesla GE scanners (the same technology you would find in leading hospitals) that have been rigorously tested and accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR).

Upright and open MRIs are not offered, as the technology does not meet the high-quality standard that is integral to Smart Choice MRI. Our Vernon Hills, IL clinic has a wide bore scanner that is available for claustrophobic or larger patients.

Does Smart Choice MRI have an open scanner?

Smart Choice MRI uses 1.5 Tesla superconductive magnets which create a higher and more uniform magnet field than the magnets found in traditional open MRIs. These provide the image clarity required for an accurate diagnosis and are the industry gold standard. Some open MRIs are actually open on the sides, however that design degrades the image quality. Due to the lower image quality, we don’t offer an MRI open on both sides, however we do have a wide-bore MRI which provides more room without degrading the image quality. Our wide-bore is in Vernon Hills, IL, located a little over an hour from both Milwaukee and Chicago.

If you have a fear of small, closed spaces, Smart Choice MRI has many techniques to help you feel comfortable. If you are unsure of what type of scanner you require, please reach out over phone or chat.

Who reads the MRI exams for Smart Choice MRI?

All exams are interpreted by subspecialized, board-certified radiologists from the Cleveland Clinic, one of the top five health systems in the country. This means that the physicians interpreting your exam are nationally recognized imaging experts in their respective fields.

Does Smart Choice MRI offer CT scans?

We do not perform computed tomography (CT) scans at this time, we only perform magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. The scans produce different results, therefore it is important to talk with your doctor to determine what type of scan you require.

Does Smart Choice MRI offer X-Rays?

We do not perform X-Rays at this time, we only perform magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. X-rays produce different results, therefore it is important to talk with your doctor to determine what type of scan you require.

Does Smart Choice MRI offer Ultrasounds?

We do not perform ultrasounds at this time, we only perform magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Ultrasounds produce different results, therefore it is important to talk with your doctor to determine what type of scan you require.

How will I receive the results of my scan?

Once your MRI scan is complete, your images are immediately available on OneChart, an online platform for medical records. Your provider will receive your scan results from a Cleveland Clinic radiologist within 24-48 hours. After provider review, you will be able to access your report on OneChart as well.

How do I request my records?

Your provider will receive a copy of your report within 24-48 hours. If you are a patient or provider and would like to access records, please click here.

If you have additional questions, you can contact our medical records dept at (844) 792-6933.

Do I need a doctor’s order for an MRI?

Yes, in order to perform an MRI, we must receive an order from your doctor, nurse practitioner or chiropractor. This is to ensure we are performing the appropriate exam. You or your health care provider can fax this order to us at (844) 332-3974 or you can upload while scheduling online.

If you do not have an MRI order but feel you are a candidate to have an MRI scan, we suggest you speak with your physician, nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant or chiropractor.

Is it possible to have my entire body scanned?

Smart Choice MRI can perform almost every MR scan across your entire body. Every MRI we complete needs a physician’s order and is billed as a separate exam, even if images of multiple body parts are being ordered at one time. You should discuss the need to scan multiple areas with your physician in order to determine the best plan for your care. See here for a complete list of scans we are able to perform.

Is Smart Choice MRI able to perform any type of scan?

Smart Choice MRI is able to perform many types of MR scans both with and without contrast, including MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and MRA (magnetic resonance angiography). See here for a complete list of scans we are able to perform.

Due to the need for specialized equipment we are unable to provide arthrograms, diagnostic breast imaging, prostate imaging and cardiac imaging.

Am I allowed to drive after my exam if my doctor has prescribed me a sedative?

If your doctor has prescribed you with a sedative, please follow the directions for taking the medication and make sure there is someone to drive you home from your appointment.

What is NeuroQuant?

NeuroQuant is an FDA approved software used to accelerate quantitative analysis on MRIs. According to Cortechs Labs, “NeuroQuant provides volumetric measurements of brain structures and compares the volumes to a normative database adjusted for age, gender, and intracranial volume.” NeuroQuant may be ordered to assess neurodegenerative diseases such as: Multiple Sclerosis, Traumatic Brain Injury, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Epilepsy.

What is LesionQuant?

LesionQuant is a component of the NeuroQuant software that, according to Cortechs Labs, “enhance your ability to identify and monitor the number and progression of brain lesions.” LesionQuant may be ordered to assess neurodegenerative diseases such as: Multiple Sclerosis, Traumatic Brain Injury, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Epilepsy.

Where is NeuroQuant/LesionQuant available?

NeuroQuant and LesionQuant are both available at any of Smart Choice’s clinics throughout Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin.