Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses magnet and radio waves similar to AM/FM in order to allow doctors to see detailed images of the internal structures of the body. This technique provides doctors with a higher degree of diagnostic accuracy than ever before.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses magnet and radio waves similar to AM/FM in order to allow doctors to see detailed images of the internal structures of the body.
Since an MRI uses magnets, it is important that you have nothing metallic on or in your body. If you have ever had surgery before and there is a chance you have metallic objects such as surgical pins, clips, pace-makers implants, or if you think you are or could be pregnant, please tell the technologist or nurse who is working with you.
Also, if you work around metals, such as machinists, welders, or mechanics do, please let us know that as well. We want to ensure nothing interferes with getting you a proper, high quality scan.
From start to finish, the picture-taking part of the text usually lasts between 10-35 minutes. Studies with contrast agents take longer than those without.
MRI scans can take anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour. Due to this length of time, you may be asked to empty your bladder beforehand.
The scan is not painful, but you might find it uncomfortable to lie still for a long time.
How should I prepare?
You can usually eat and drink as normal on the day of your scan
It is generally safe to continue taking any prescription medication on the day of your appointment. If you are on medication for diabetes, you will be given advice about when to take your tablets or insulin.
tell the staff if you have any metal in your body, such as staples from previous surgery, metal plates put in after an injury, a hip replacement or a pacemaker
take off metal (for example, jewelry, a belt, your watch, an underwired bra, glasses).
You may be given a contrast agent (dye).
If you have an MRI scan of your brain, you might be given a contrast agent. You should be asked if you have any allergies, kidney problems or problems with blood clotting before you have this contrast agent. This is so that technician can take any necessary precautions.
When you attend your appointment, staff in the scanning department ask if you:
are pregnant, or could be pregnant
have any implants in your body, especially those containing iron (for example a hip replacement or pacemaker). You will not have an MRI scan if the metal is not compliant with the MRI scanner.
have ever had an allergic reaction to a contrast agent.
What happens during the procedure?
The MRI scanner is a large cylinder with a couch in the middle of it – it looks a bit like a paper towel roll. The cylinder measures radio waves as they pass through your body.
The couch moves you into the scanner. You are asked to keep as still as possible during the scan. You might find it uncomfortable to lie still for as long as is needed – if you think you are likely to find this difficult, ask your doctor for advice about how to cope with the discomfort. You might need to take pain relief medication beforehand.
Being in an MRI scanner can be very noisy. You might also feel vibrations and slight movement of the couch during the scan. You will be offered earplugs during the scan.
You might feel enclosed inside an MRI scanner. Some people feel claustrophobic (closed in).
There will be a two-way speaker in the machine so that you can hear and speak to the radiographers. You will also have a buzzer to use if you want to let the staff know you feel distressed. If you feel anxious about having your scan, speak to a member of the staff.
We are more than willing to help you out in any way you need during your scan. Please ask our staff for whatever you may need.