Are there any reasons I should not have the scan done?
Because of the potentially harmful effects associated with some metallic objects in a magnetic field, you should check with your physician or the MRI technologist if you have had any brain, heart, eye, ear or other surgeries.
Also if you have any of the following please let the technologist know:
• Metal implants
• Surgical staples
• Foreign metal objects in eye, or removed from eye
• If you have ever been a sheet metal worker or machinist
• Shrapnel, bullets, or bullet wounds
• Intrauterine devices (IUD)
You may NOT have the scan if you have the following:
• Neuro-stimulator (tens-unit)
• Ferrous intracranial aneurysm clips
• Implanted drug infusion device
Do I need to prepare for the exam?
No special preparation is needed. Eat normally and take medication as usual, unless your doctor has given you other instructions. You may find it easier to relax if you avoid drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages before the exam.
How long does the MRI scan take?
The exam can last from 30 minutes to usually no more than one hour.
What is an Open MRI?
An open MRI means you will not be placed in a tunnel or tube. With an open MRI, you can have a friend or family member by your side during the examination.
Is there any risk?
Magnetic resonance imaging is very safe. There are no health risks associated with the magnetic field or radio waves used during the exam. However, some special circumstances limit the use of a magnetic field, so it is important for you to tell us if any of the following apply to you or someone accompanying you into the exam room:
• Cardiac pacemaker or artificial heart valve
• Metal plate, pin or other metallic implant
• Intrauterine device, such as Copper-7 IUD
• Insulin pump or other infusion pump
• Aneurysm clips
• Previous gunshot wound
• Inner ear implant
• Ever been a metal worker (had metal in eye)
• Permanent (tattoo) eye-liner
Any metallic substance on your person can affect the quality of the diagnostic images. It can also cause discomfort or injury to you when placed in the magnetic field, and may exclude you from the exam.
What is the Exam or Test like?
•The exam usually takes 30 to 60 minutes. It consists of several sequences 3-5 minutes each
• You will be asked to remove your eyeglasses, watch, jewelry, credit cards, dentures, hearing aids and any other metallic objects you are carrying. You will probably be asked to change into a patient gown or scrubs.
• Then, the technologist will help you lie down on a cushioned table. A device called a coil will be placed over or under you. It helps the MRI system create a clear picture of your body. When you are comfortably positioned, the table will move under the magnet. The technologist will then step into the control area, while staying in constant contact with you both visually and through an intercom.
• As the exam proceeds, you will hear a muffled thumping sound for several minutes at a time. These sounds are normal and occur whenever the MRI pictures are being taken.
• It is important that you hold still while the machine is running; otherwise, the pictures will be blurry and may have to be repeated.
• Relax and try to lie as still as possible. Any movement during this time will blur the picture. When the exam is done, the technologist will help you off the table.
Will I feel anything during the scan?
The MRI scan is completely painless and comfortable. Occasionally, an injection of a solution called contrast material may need to be used to better visualize the area of interest as specified by your physician. The contrast material used during an MRI scan typically has few or no side effects.
Will I need an injection?
• In most cases an MRI exam does not require any injections. In some situations, however, a substance known as a contrast agent may be needed to enhance the ability of the MRI to see into your body.
• Athough we have an open MRI, if you feel that you may still be claustrophobic, you may want to talk to your referring physician before the test. The doctor may be able to prescribe a medication to help you relax. In this case, you will need to bring someone with you to drive you home.