How do I prepare for my MRI scan?
Before most MRI exams, eat normally and continue to take your usual medications, unless otherwise instructed. You may be asked to change into scrubs, and to remove:
- Hearing aids
- Underwire bras
Also, do not take any credit, bank, parking or insurance cards into the scan room because the magnet will erase the information on the magnetic strip. A locker will be provided for the safe keeping of your valuables. You should take the locker key into the magnet room with your for the security of your valuables but it must be left in an area that is designated to be safe by the technologist.
What can I expect during my visit to the MRI scan?
Upon arriving for your appointment, you will be greeted by a receptionist who will ask you to sign in and give you appropriate forms to complete. The staff will review the forms for completion. The technologist will take you back and explain the procedure, what’s expected of you and answer any questions you might have.
Our Seimens Espree MRI machine looks like a tube that has both ends open. It is a wide bore that is lit up inside. You lie down on a movable table that slides into the opening of the bore. A technologist monitors you from another room. You can talk with the technologist by microphone.
The MRI machine creates a strong field around you, and radio waves are directed at your body. The procedure is painless. You don’t feel the magnetic field or radio waves, and there are no moving parts around you.
When the scanner is operating you will hear loud knocking sounds and feel vibrations from the table. This is normal. Earplugs or music may be provided to help block the noise. You will be asked to hold very still as motion will cause images blurring. If you are worried about feeling claustrophobic inside the MRI machine, talk to your doctor beforehand. You may receive a sedative before the scan.
In some cases, a contrast material, typically gadolinium, may be injected through an intravenous (IV) line into a vein in your hand or arm. The contrast material enhances the appearance of certain details.
The MRI scan is performed by a technologist specially trained to operate the MRI system and the images will be interpreted by a radiologist who is a physician specializing in interpreting medical diagnostic examinations.
How long will the MRI scan take?
Each MRI scan is different. Typically, scans can take between 20-60 minutes.
What will happen following my MRI scan?
Immediately following the scan, you may resume normal activities, diet and medications. There are no known reactions or side effects associated with MRI. The images from your examination will be taken to a radiologist who will interpret the scan.
How do I find out the results of my MRI scan?
Your MRI scan will be reviewed by a radiologist. The radiologist’s interpretation will be faxed to your physician within 24 hours, your physician will give you the results of your scan and plan the best course of treatment for your recovery.
Important considerations: You should not have a MRI scan if you are pregnant or possibly pregnant. Also, it is very important to inform your physician, his nurse or the MRI technologist prior to the scan if you have any of the following metal implants or objects:
Aneurysm clips, Artificial heart valves, Bullets, Cardiac pacemakers, Eye prostheses, Hip or knee prosthesis (less than six weeks), Insulin pump implants, Vascular clips (less than six weeks), Middle or inner ear prosthesis, Shrapnel, Wire sutures (less than six weeks), Metal filings or shavings in the face or eyes, TENS units (electronic nerve stimulator) or Wire mesh.
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