What To Expect During Your MRI Scan
Below you will find information on what you will experience during your MRI scan
- Scanning: A technologist will bring you into the MRI scan room and help you get comfortable on the padded examination table. The table will then move slowly into the opening of a large cylinder shaped tube that houses the MRI magnet. You will hear different sets of knocking noises while the machine takes pictures. Headphones or earplugs are provided and significantly reduce the amount of noise you will hear during the scan. It is important to lie completely still while the images are being taken because motion will affect the sharpness of the image. The technologist will talk with you throughout your scan and keep you informed of what you can expect. The technologist will be able to hear you throughout the exam, from the adjacent control room, in case you need to communicate with him/her.
- Intravenous Contrast: Depending on the type of exam, patients may receive a contrast agent intravenously (IV) through a vein in the arm or hand. Contrast agents are used to highlight organs and blood vessels to help produce a better image for the radiologist. If your physician or radiologist has determined that contrast medium is necessary, you may receive an IV in your arm or hand prior to the test so the technologist can administer the contrast agent at the time of your scan. The safety profile of these gadolinium based agents is excellent. Even patients with allergies to iodinated contrast material (IVP dye, CT scan contrast) can generally receive IV gadolinium without difficulty. If you have a history of allergic reaction to gadolinium (hives, rash, or anaphylaxis), it may be necessary for you to have an allergy prevention protocol prior to gadolinium injection. Please let your referring physician know as this protocol needs to be started the day prior to injection. Although rare, reactions to gadolinium can occur and you should let your technologist know if you do not feel well after the contrast medium is injected. Patients who require a contrast agent will typically be given the IV injection part way through the scan.
- Length of Scan: MRI scans are individualized and tailored to each patient’s needs. Total scan times range from 20 to more than 60 minutes. After the technologist completes the MRI scan, they will review all of the images to make sure they are adequate in quality and complete in scope.