How to Prepare For an MRI

MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, which is an imaging technique that uses scanners to produce 3D images of the body. An MRI scanner works by using magnets to align hydrogen atoms, which are then ‘excited’ with radio waves. The energy given off by this process can be measured and turned into an image of the area being scanned.

If your doctor orders an MRI, you might not know what to expect or how to prepare for your MRI. Before your appointment, follow these steps!

Preparing for Your MRI Scan

There is not a lot to do before coming in for your MRI scan. However, the more you prepare, the easier it will be.

Before your MRI scan, it is best to eat normally and continue taking all medications unless your doctor gives you specific instructions. Try to get plenty of sleep the night before and make sure you’re adequately hydrated.

Extremity MRI

When you get to your MRI, you will need to remove anything that might affect the magnetic imaging. As such, many people choose to remove these items at home to prevent loss. Before your MRI, remove:

  • Jewelry
  • Hairpins
  • Eyeglasses
  • Watches
  • Wigs
  • Dentures
  • Hearing aids
  • Underwire bras

Also, do not use any cosmetics that might contain metal particles. This might include sunscreen, foundation, antiperspirant/deodorant, and even lipstick.

Some people may not be able to go through MRI scanning, including pregnant women and people fitted with metal implants such as joint replacements, dental braces, pacemakers, cochlear implants, and other electric medical devices.

What to Expect During Your MRI Scan

Once you’ve completely prepared for your MRI scan in terms of food and rest, it’s time to get into the machine itself! MRI scanners vary in size, so if you are concerned about how you’ll lay down, speak to your MRI technician. MRI technicians will allow the magnets in the MRI scanner to take a few test images before they continue with your full MRI scan; this is known as ‘dynamic scanning’.

The MRI machine is noisy and can cause stress in many individuals. To help reduce the anxiety of the testing, you may listen to music. If you have a fear of small spaces, your doctor might prescribe a medication to help you feel less anxious. However, most people get through an MRI without issue.

A typical MRI will last between 15 minutes and an hour, depending on what is being scanned and what your doctor is looking for. Your technician can give you a good idea of how long you will be there. During your MRI it is important to remain still for the duration of the scan. Movement can blur images and result in inadequate data.

ImageCare Has Your Comfort in Mind

At ImageCare, we believe you deserve choices. We offer Sedation MRIs as well as several Open MRI options  at our centers such as:

  • Stand-Up MRI
  • Extremity MRI
  • Neuro MRI
  • Short Bore MRI
  • Wide Bore MRI

At many of our locations we also offer your choice of music to help you relax and be more comfortable. Just ask!

Discomfort Associated with MRI Scans

While most individuals go through an MRI without issue, some do report mild side effects including:

  • Fainting or feeling lightheaded
  • Pain and discomfort in the MRI scanner
  • Feeling hot and sweaty during MRI scanning
  • Headaches

Schedule Your MRI Today

At ImageCare Radiology, we offer a variety of diagnostic imaging services, including MRIs, CT Scans, and other neurological imaging. Our radiology and imaging centers believe in providing exceptional imaging services whenever you need us. If your doctor has requested any type of imaging service to help you diagnose your issues, give us a call today at 973-871-3333 to schedule an appointment or complete our convenient online appointment request form.