Exam Preparation for MRI

My doctor ordered an MRI. What should I expect?

Depending upon the exam, an MRI takes 30-45 minutes. You will be screened and your medical history will be gone over prior to the exam. The procedure will be explained to you and you will be made as comfortable as possible. It is important to remain still during the procedure.

Is it safe to have an MRI?

Yes it is. MRI does not use radiation; instead, an image is produced using a large magnet, radio waves and a computer.

Is there any preparation?

No, however, if you are in pain and have a hard time lying still, we suggest you take your pain medication. You cannot wear metal in the area that you are being scanned. You can wear sweat clothes; shorts or pants without a zipper if you choose. We do have gowns that you can change into. If you have plain films or prior tests we suggest you bring those with you.

What precautions are there?

The MRI scanner is a magnet and therefore metal objects; credit cards; watches, bobby pins and other metal objects cannot be brought into the room. We have wheelchairs and oxygen tanks that are compatible with the scanner.

Can anyone have an MRI?

You cannot be scanned if you have cardiac pacemaker; metal in your eyes; aneurysm clips or cochlear implants. There are other implanted devices such as defibrillators and retinal tacks. You will be screened to make sure you are safe to have a scan. PLEASE notify us if you have had surgery within the past 6 weeks.

Do I need an order for an MRI?

Yes! You must have an order from your physician. The order needs to say exactly what type of an MRI you need. It needs to indicate if you are having contrast.

Why would I need contrast?

Contrast (gadolinium) is used for certain studies. For example: if you have had surgery on your spine, it is used to differentiate between a new injury and scar tissue. If the diagnosis is MS; contrast is used to highlight the possibility of plaques. It also highlights tumors. Contrast is a clear solution that is injected into your veins. It is injected partway through the study and then some sequences are performed again.

The order says one area but I think I should have more than that?

First of all, an MRI is specific to the area your physician orders. We have to go by what the order says. If it says left shoulder but both of your shoulders hurt, we cannot add the right shoulder. The same with your spine - if the order says lumbar; we will scan your low back area and that is all.

If you think you need something else scanned please discuss that with your physician prior to your appointment. If another scan is added, we need to be notified. You are given a 45 minute time slot for each scan.

HOW DO I GET MY EXAM RESULTS?

Your exam will be reviewed by one of our board-certified radiologists. They will dictate a report which then will be transcribed. Upon the finalization of the report it will be faxed to your referring physician who will go over the results with you.


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