How to prepare for an MRI Exam is one of the most commonly asked questions. Knowing what to do before the scan is the best way to ensure high-quality pictures and a seamless procedure. Additionally, understanding the different types of exams and machinery will help patients make the most informed decision.
For the majority of MRI exams, not much preparation is necessary. Certain MRI scans such as abdominal or pelvis may require fasting. The imaging facilities will give patients instructions prior to the exam if this is a requirement. Patients should always inform the imaging center if they have a pacemaker, are pregnant, have any sort of metal in their body, diabetes, claustrophobia, or allergies to iodine. These conditions may impact the ability to get an MRI scan.
If a contrast MRI exam is necessary an oral or intravenous dye is administered prior to the MRI scan. A general rule is the MRI scan takes 45 minutes per body part. Remaining still during the MRI exam is a critical part of its success. The inability to remain still will negatively affect image quality. Often, excessive moments result in needing a repeat MRI scan. It is also important to note, patients may hear loud noises during the exam. Most often, facilities provide earphones to reduce noise and help folks keep calm and relaxed during the process. After the scan, most facilities provide patients a CD with images from the MRI. The radiologist report indicates and explains the patient’s presenting problem. This document is available within 1-4 business days following the exam.
Usually, patients find themselves needing MRI scans by a doctor’s recommendation. In that case, it is vital to get the doctor’s referral so the patient can pick the imaging center of their choice. Often, it is difficult to find a quality facility at an affordable price. It is always a good idea to use a third party concierge service to help with the process.