Scheduled for an MRI? Here’s what you need to know
When it comes to your health and wellness, any test can make you nervous. However, when you are scheduled for an MRI, there are specific ways you can prepare yourself and reduce your anxiety.
MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, a non-invasive, painless, diagnostic procedure that uses a permanent, super-conducting magnet. MRIs typically last about 30 minutes, during which some patients fall asleep.
An MRI may be used to evaluate ongoing joint trauma or pain, including torn ligaments or disk abnormalities in your spine. It can also be used to evaluate any head trauma, including potential bleeding or swelling in the brain. MRIs are also useful when detecting tumors, aneurysms, or risk factors for stroke, including blood clots.
The best way to have a good experience when scheduled for an MRI is to be prepared.
- Be ready to remove any jewelry, belts, and clothing with zippers. Make sure to remove all metal objects. The MRI is powered by a magnet, so everything metal should be removed. Also, do not wear any makeup to your appointment. Some makeups and nail polishes include metals. Minimize hair products and skip the antiperspirants and sunscreen, which also contain metal particles.
- MRI machines can be very loud. Prepare yourself by bringing foam earplugs. Talk to children about the noise and explain it is just the machine working and nothing to be worried about. Music is also played during the MRI for those who may prefer it.
- An MRI machine is shaped like a short tube – open on either end. There is a microphone and speaker located inside the scanner allowing the MRI technologist to hear and speak to you at all times.
- Talk to your doctor about any tattoos you might have. Some tattoos may contain metals in the dye used and it is important to talk to your doctor about tattoos that might not be visible.
- If you have an implanted device such as a pacemaker or artificial joint, make sure to bring your device card with you.
- Remember to be as still as possible. MRIs utilize strong magnetic fields and radio waves – not X-rays like a CAT or CT scan. This means that if you move during the MRI you may have to start over.
Follow these tips and you will have less stress about your upcoming MRI. Remember, an MRI is a great way for your doctor to get a picture of what is going on inside your body. It can help better diagnose an illness or injury.
Dan Mapes, MPA, RT(N), CRA, is Executive Director of Diagnostic & Satellite Services at Beebe Healthcare. For more information about Beebe Diagnostic Imaging, go to https://www.beebehealthcare.org/patient-care-services/beebe-imaging. To schedule an imaging appointment, call (302) 645-3278.