How To Prepare For Your MRI Exam

How do I prepare for my MRI scan?
Very little preparation is required for a MRI scan. You can eat, drink, and take your medication as normal. Prior to the scan, you are encouraged to go to the bathroom due to the length of the examination.

You will be asked to remove all metallic items such as watches, jewelry, hair pins, eyeglasses, and hearing aids. 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 you 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 and a billing representative will call you into our consultation room to discuss your insurance benefits.

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. The MRI technologist will take you to a private area in the MRI department where they will review your medical history and the symptoms that are related to the examination that your doctor has ordered. The technologist will further explain you're examination, what's expected of you and answer any questions you might have.

When the scanner is operating you will hear a loud knocking sound and feel a vibration from the table. This is normal. You'll be asked to hold very still as motion will cause image blurring.

How long will the MRI scan take?
Each MRI scan is different. Typically, scans can take between 20 and 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 films from your examination will be taken to a radiologist who will interpret the images.

How do I find out the results of my MRI scan?
Your MRI scan will be reviewed by a radiologist. The radiologist will send a report to your physician, who 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.
  • It is very important to inform your doctor, his nurse or the MRI technologist prior to the scan if you have any of the following metal implants or objects. Your doctor will decide if you can safely be scanned.
    *Aneurysm clips: artificial heart valves: bullets: cardiac pacemakers: eye prosthesis: 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): wire mesh.
  • Additionally, if you have ever been a metal worker, it is important that you inform the doctor of this. If you have ever had a piece of metal penetrate your eyeball you must have an x-ray of your eyes to make sure that no metal remains before your MRI scan.

This information is asked on the MRI questionnaire and will be reviewed by the MRI technologist. By signing the questionnaire, you are stating that the answers are correct and that you are aware of the need to provide this information prior to MRI scan for your own safety.