What is an MRI?
Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a noninvasive medical imaging test that produces detailed images of almost every internal structure in the human body, including the organs, bones, muscles and blood vessels. MRI scanners create images of the body using a large magnet and radio waves. These images give your provider important information in diagnosing your medical condition and planning a course of treatment. Unlike x-rays, no ionizing radiation is produced during an MRI exam.
How do I Prepare for an MRI Procedure?
EAT / DRINK - You may eat, drink and take meds as usual for most MRI exams unless told otherwise.
CLOTHING - You will be asked to remove all clothing, jewelry, piercings, and under garments.
STRONG MAGNETIC ENVIRONMENT - Due to the strong magnetic field, you must inform your doctor prior to the appointment if you have any metal in your body. Detailed information will be needed, such as the type and location, to determine your eligibility for MRI.
What happens during an MRI Procedure?
While the MRI procedure itself causes no pain, having to lie still for the length of the procedure might cause some discomfort or pain, particularly if you had a recent injury or invasive procedure, such as surgery. The technologist will use all possible comfort measures and complete the procedure as quickly as possible. MRI scans may be performed on an outpatient basis or as part of a stay in the hospital. An MRI procedure generally follows this process:
- You will be asked to remove all clothing, jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids, hairpins, removable dental work or other objects that may interfere with the procedure and given a gown to wear. You will lie on a scan table that slides into a large circular opening of the scanning machine. Pillows, foam blocks, and linens may be used to prevent movement during the procedure. It will be important for you to remain very still during the examination, as any movement could cause distortion and affect the quality of the scan.
- The technologist will be in another room where the scanner controls are located. However, you will be in constant sight of the technologist through a window. Speakers inside the scanner will enable the technologist to communicate with and hear you. You will have a balloon shaped communication button so that you can let the technologist know if you have any problems during the procedure. The technologist will be watching you at all times and will be in constant communication.
- You will be given noise canceling headphones and will be able to choose what music/and or sounds you would like to listen to during the MRI. If you are scheduled for any type of scan involving your head, you will be given a set of foam earplugs. MCMH utilizes a theater experience while inside the bore. Expect to see images dancing across the interior of the MRI for the duration of your exam.
- At intervals, you may be instructed to hold your breath for a few seconds, depending on the body part being examined. You will not need to hold your breath for longer than a few seconds. Once the scan is complete, the table will slide out of the scanner and you will be helped off the table.
What Happens After an MRI Procedure?
You should move slowly when getting up from the scanner table to avoid any dizziness or lightheadedness from lying flat during the procedure.
If any sedatives were taken for the procedure, you may be required to rest until they have worn off. You will also need someone to drive you home if you have taken sedatives.
Otherwise, no special type of care is required after an MRI scan. You may resume your usual diet and activities unless your doctor advises you differently.
Your provider may give you more or alternate instructions after the procedure depending on your particular situation.
You can expect a follow-up results call from your provider within 1-2 business days following your exam.
Your final report will also be available in your patient portal. (Note: You must sign up for PatientPortal to have access to your medical records.)
Do you have questions about an upcoming procedure? Call us today at 712.623.7164!