Your Exam

Before Your Exam

Preparing for your MRI exam is very easy—just follow your normal routine. Here are a few specific things you need to know:

  • It’s fine to eat and drink in most cases and no special diet is needed.
  • If you’re scheduled for an abdominal MRI, please do not eat or drink 4 hours prior to your exam.
  • Continue taking your usual medications unless your doctor gives you other instructions.
  • Since you will have to lie very still during the exam, you may find it easier to relax if you avoid caffeinated beverages.
  • It is best to wear comfortable clothing that does not have metal zippers, buttons or buckles.
  • Avoid bringing anything with metal content such as jewelry, a watch, keys, etc. If you do bring these items, the technologist will show you a secure place to store personal belongings.
  • You can bring in a favorite music CD to listen to during the exam.
  • If you are claustrophobic, let your doctor know so he or she can prescribe a medication to ensure you are relaxed during the MRI scan.
  • If you are taking a sedating medication, ask a family member or a friend to drive you home after the exam since you may be very drowsy.
  • Remember to bring your insurance identification card if you have one.
  • If you have other relevant x-rays, CT scans or other MRI exams, call our office to notify our staff prior to your exam. We will obtain these to view and correlate with your MRI exam.

Study Concerns

Metallic objects limit the accuracy of MRI and the magnetic field can interfere with some surgically implanted devices—they may even be hazardous to you. If any of the following apply to you, please tell your doctor or technologist:

  • Cardiac pacemaker
  • Aneurysm clips
  • Artificial heart valve
  • Metallic implant
  • Insulin pump or other infusion pump
  • Intrauterine device
  • If you are a metal worker
  • Inner ear implant
  • Previous gunshot wound
  • Joint or bone pins
  • Permanent tattoos or eyeliner
  • Pregnancy

Plan to arrive at our office 15 minutes prior to your scheduled start time. Once here, our technologist will help you get ready for your exam and answer any questions you may have.

Your Imaging Exam

During Your Exam

Our MRI unit is open and comfortable. Pillows and pads are available to help you relax. We will provide headphones and you can listen to music during your exam, so bring your favorite music CD to your appointment. If you prefer, we will provide ear plugs to diminish the sounds of the MRI machine. Some patients even fall asleep during the exam.

Once you are lying down on the MRI table, the technologist will place a device called a “coil” over or under you. Please remember it’s important to lie very still. You will be surrounded by a strong magnetic field. A radio wave will pass through the field, creating a signal the computer translates into images. The resulting picture shows anatomy by differentiating between tissues that have a lot of water (ex: fat, cerebrospinal fluid, discs, etc.) and tissues that don’t have much water (ex: bone, cartilage, etc.).

An MRI image can be generated as either two- or three-dimensional and multiple imaging planes as determined by the technologist and the radiologist. In some examinations, your physician or the radiologist may request the administration of Gadolinium, a contrast agent used to facilitate specific MR images.

During the scan you will hear a thumping or banging noise while the machine is operating, but you won’t feel anything during the procedure. A technologist will be in communication with you through a two-way intercom during the entire exam. It can take several minutes for each picture to be taken. The entire procedure will last 30 to 60 minutes depending on the number and types of images to be obtained.

Questions?

Feel free to call us during office hours. We’ll be happy to assist you!