Preparing For Your MRI Scan
Below you will find information that will help you prepare for your exam:
- When to Arrive: Patients should arrive 30 minutes before their scheduled appointment. This allows time to complete any necessary paperwork, answer any medical history questions, change clothes for the scan if necessary and ask any questions of the MRI technologist. Patients should bring their insurance cards and any insurance forms.
- Clothing: Some patients may need to change into a hospital gown for their exam. Generally, patients should dress in loose-fitting, comfortable clothing such as a sweatshirt and pants without metal snaps or zippers. All valuables should be left at home. Jewelry, glasses, hearing aides, dentures, hairpins, credit cards, coins, keys and other metal objects will need to be removed and placed in a secure clothing locker outside the scan room. Patients are also advised not to wear cosmetics to their scan as many brands contain metal.
- Food and Drink: Generally, there is no need to fast prior to MRI. For MRCP and MR enterography studies, a four to six hour pre-MRI fast is required, but it is okay to take your medicines during that time period.
- Medications: It is important for patients to continue taking all medications prescribed by their physician before their MRI exam.
- Special note about Claustrophobia: Patients should expect to be awake during their MRI exam. The MRI machine is shaped like a tunnel and depending on the kind of exam you are having you may not be able to see the room around it. On occasion, this may make patients feel claustrophobic. The MRI team will work with patients who suffer from claustrophobia. Patients can come before their appointment and tour the facility to become better acquainted with the scanning process. Satellite radio is provided in the MRI suite to help patients relax during their scan. A friend or family member (who has been screened for internal or external metal) may also accompany the patient into the exam room during the test. Many patients request a mild sedative prescription from their physician prior to their appointment. If you do so, please be sure to arrange for a responsible adult to drive you home.
- Kidney function labwork before exam: Many MRI scans require injection of intravenous contrast solution (dye). Many patients, including all patients over age 60 and certain patients with other medical conditions that can predispose to kidney disease, will need to have current kidney function labs within 30 days of imaging. If lab results are not available, patients may need to have blood drawn in the radiology department prior to imaging.
- Pediatric Patients: The Radiology Department has specialty radiologists and a conscious sedation program to meet the unique needs of pediatric patients. Parents can accompany their children into the scan room and remain with the child during the MRI exam.