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MRI Contrast

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a powerful tool for screening and diagnosis. Many consider it to be the best way to detect diseases in their earliest, most treatable stage.

The exam is non-invasive, uses no radiation, and our state-of-the-art equipment offers a more comfortable imaging experience. It is often ordered when more detail is needed based on results of other studies, when the cause of symptoms is unclear during a physical exam, or when an asymptomatic patient has increased risk of certain disease.

For some exams, an injectable dye called contrast is administered intravenously to highlight a specific area of interest, or directly into a joint (arthrogram). Targeted body areas will absorb the contrast dye, and will glow on the MRI scan, allowing for a more detailed image. There is a risk of allergic reaction to the contrast agent, so you will be asked about your allergies and other medical conditions when booking your exam. Please note that, contrast is an additional cost of $250.

In Calgary, MRI exams are provided at our Mayfair Place location as private pay exams and are not covered by Alberta Health Care. Prices are per body area. If multiple body areas are scheduled within the same appointment, discounts apply. For example, the abdomen is one body area, while the spine is divided into three body areas. Both breasts are considered one body area.

We offer a 10% Seniors discount (65+) that can be applied to the first MRI exam.

In Saskatchewan, we provide MRIs as a publicly funded, community-based service under contract with the Saskatchewan Health Authority and as a private pay exam. Private MRI services in Saskatchewan are provided in accordance with and under the legislation of the Province of Saskatchewan. Pricing is per body area, similar to Alberta pricing (with similar discounts).

Your health spending account or group medical insurance plan may cover the cost of a private MRI that is prescribed by a qualified health care practitioner. You will need to check with your plan administrator for coverage details.

For information on how to prepare, what happens during your exam, etc., please click on the applicable body area:


Please ensure that you bring your requisition with you to your appointment.


30-60 minutes (depending on area)
What diseases can you detect with MRI imaging?
MRI is excellent for diagnosing diseases of the brain, spine, skeleton, abdomen, and soft tissues. It is also effective in assessing the severity of and informing the most effective treatment of delicate injuries in bones and soft tissues like muscle and cartilage.
Do I need a doctor's referral?
Yes, all Mayfair scans require a referral from your health care provider. Please download a referral form.
Is the procedure loud?
You'll hear loud knocking sounds. These sounds are normal and should not worry you. Despite the loud noise, the technologist operating the machine will be able to hear you if you have questions or concerns. We will provide you with headphones to listen to music and help muffle the noise. You are also given an emergency call bell to stop the exam, if needed.
Are there size or weight restrictions?
Mayfair's wide-bore MRI scanners offer a much more comfortable imaging experience, especially for larger patients or those who are prone to anxiety in tight spaces. Feet first scanning capacity, flexible design configurations, and variable density padding provide optimal patient comfort. If you're nervous about sizing, measure your body at the widest point (usually across your abdomen or from shoulder to shoulder) and if the measurement is less than 70 centimetres, you should fit. If you are claustrophobic, you can come in for a fitting at no charge to make sure you will be comfortable during the exam. Patients whose weight exceeds 226 kilograms (500 lbs) may be unable to have a scan.
How reliable are the procedures?
As with most screening procedures, MRI scans are not perfect, nor are they proven to find everything they're looking for. Some abnormalities are too small to find, or they may be hidden near other normal structures. Mayfair's exams are most beneficial when taken into the context of your medical history.