Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a sophisticated tool used by physicians to see detailed images of the organs and tissues inside our bodies. This minimally invasive test uses no radiation, and is safe for most people. If you have been scheduled to have an MRI, here are 5 tips to help you come prepared for your imaging test.
How Does an MRI Work?
An MRI uses a magnetic field and computer generated radio waves to display high resolution images better than an X-ray or a CT scan. During an MRI, the radio waves create cross sectional 3-D images almost like slices of bread. The images can be viewed at any angle and are shown on the computer screen.
Southwest Diagnostic Imaging Center can then see abnormalities in your organs and tissues like cancer, pre-cancerous tissue, damage from a stroke, spinal cord disorders, and many other specific irregularities.
Preparing for an MRI
There is very little you will need to do to physically prepare for an MRI. Take all your daily medications as normal unless your physician has instructed you otherwise.
Read All the Instructions
Prior to your MRI, Southwest Diagnostic Imaging Center will provide detailed written instruction on what to expect. Read these thoroughly and carefully. The more you understand about what to expect prior to the test, the less anxious you are likely to become once it is time to conduct the scan.
This is the time to express any questions or concerns about your MRI with our medical staff.
When you come to our imaging center, bring a written list of all your medications both prescription and over-the-counter.
Other preparations should include the following:
- Leave all your valuables at home including jewelry, money and other items. This includes anything metal like eyeglasses, hairpins, underwire bras or hearing aids.
- Expect to spend approximately 45 minutes to an hour for the actual test.
- Be aware you will need to remain perfectly still during the MRI
- Be ready for loud noises during the test which will occur intermittently
Communicate Clearly with Southwest Diagnostic Imaging Center
Let our radiologist know if you have any medical devices in your body, especially those that are made of metal. This includes pacemakers, artificial hip or knee implants, or other metal objects that have the potential to interfere with the magnetic waves, which may not only affect the test results, but may also be a safety hazard.
Although most people get through the test with no issues, if you are feeling anxious about it, let Southwest Diagnostic Imaging Center know. They may give you something to calm your nerves. If you are normally claustrophobic, 45 minutes in the cylinder-shaped MRI machine could be stressful.
Decide how you will pass the time during the test. Most centers allow you to bring relaxing music. Ask ahead of time if your particular imaging center location has MRI safe headphones so you can either listen to music or an audiobook to help distract the mind while the scan is performed. This is especially helpful to soothe the nerves and block out the loud sounds from the MRI.
The more you know about your upcoming MRI test, the more you will feel in control of the situation, which will help to promote a more positive experience.