MRI preparation

On the day of your exam, you might be allowed to wear your own clothes if they are loose and have not any metal latches. Otherwise you might be asked to change into the patient gown.

There are certain rules regarding eating and drinking that vary from the type of the scan and the imaging center. Unless you are told otherwise you may continue with your standard routine and eat & drink before the exam. It’s always good to double-check it the day before the exam.

Some MRI examinations may require you to drink a medium solution or get an infusion of into your circulatory system. The radiologist, technologist or a medical nurse may inquire as to whether you have allergies of any sort, for example, a hypersensitivity to iodine or x-ray contrast material, medications, food or whether you have an asthma. The most common used contrast solution generally used for an MRI exam contains a metal called Gadolinium. This solution can be also used for for patients with iodine contrast allergy. It’s far less frequent for patients to have a hypersensitivity to a gadolinium-based medium usually used in MRI scan than a iodine-containing contrast for CT.

You should also update the radiologist if you have any serious health issues or if you have recently done any surgeries. A few conditions, for example, kidney illness, may prevent you from using gadolinium contrast for a MRI.

For women it’s always important to notify the doctor or technologist if there is any probability of being pregnant. MRI has been used for scanning patients since 1980 without any findings of ill effects on the pregnant women’s or their baby’s health. In the light of the fact that the babies will be exposed to strong magnetic field, pregnant women should not have this exam in the first 3-4 months of pregnancy. Pregnant ladies should also not receive any injections of Gadolinium medium due to risk.

In the event that you have claustrophobia (dread of encased spaces) or uneasiness, please ask your doctor for referral for an open MRI or request a sedation for your exam.

You should leave all jewelry and accessories at home before visiting the imaging center. As MRI is using a strong magnet, these items can interfere with the exam and thus are not allowed to be in the same room during the exam.

Please remove:

  • Body piercings
  • Watches, jewelry, hearing aids, anything else that can be damaged
  • Pens, pocket knives and eyeglasses
  • Removable dental work

In most cases, a MRI exam is ok for patients with metal implant with few exceptions:

  • Clips used for brain aneurysms
  • Metal coils placed within blood vessels
  • Cardiac defibrillator & pacemakers
  • Cochlear (ear) implant

You should tell the technologist on the off chance that you have medical or electronic devices in the body.  These items may interfere with the exam to potentially create a hazard, depending on their type & the strength of the MRI magnet. Please always consult your doctor to understand if MRI is a good fit for you. See article on MRI risks. Some devices may require a short period of time after placement before being safe for the scans:

  • Metal screws, pins or surgical staples
  • Implanted drug infusion ports
  • Artificial heart valves
  • Artificial limbs or metallic join prostheses
  • Implanted nerve simulators

Patients who may have metal objects in specific parts of their bodies may need first an x-ray before the MRI to evaluate if they are ok to take the MRI scan exam. Also please note that guardians or relatives who enter the examining room are also required to remove all metals and notify technologist of any medical or electronic objects they might have on them.


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