A Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan, or MRI, is one of the greatest tools physicians have for diagnosing many conditions that an X-Ray can not. It looks at organs inside the body using a large magnet and radio waves. If your physician has referred you to have one, here are important things you should know before an MRI scan.
An MRI Is Painless
This scan is a non-invasive, low impact imaging procedure, and there is no pain whatsoever. As with many tests, patients may worry that this one will hurt, but rest assured it does not.
An MRI Makes A Lot Of Noise
Yes, the machine is loud and it doesn’t let up. While inside the MRI machine, you can listen to music with headphones or you can just ask the technician for ear plugs to help drown out the noise.
An MRI Is Safe
An MRI is safe as long as you follow directions and answer all questions truthfully. You must inform the technician if you have implanted medical devices like stents, knee or hip replacements, pacemakers, or drug pumps. Any other surgical implants like pins from a broken ankle should be disclosed too. If you have an implant card, bring that with you. Bottom line is communicate with your technician if you have any metal in or on your body which can affect the MRI.
You Must Be Able To Stay Still
It is essential that you remain still throughout the scan. If you move, you may cause the images to be unreadable, and you may have to begin the test from the beginning. Stay relaxed and you might even fall asleep. Talk with your doctor if you fear you cannot remain immobile for the time you will be having the scan. The time ranges anywhere from 15 minutes to 90 minutes with some scans. You can ask how long yours will take.
Tell Us If You Are Claustrophobic
The area you will be in has limited space and could be tight for larger patients.
Most patients can easily deal with the limited space, but tell the technician if you have had issues with claustrophobia in the past. In some cases you may be given something to relax you.
Since this is an outpatient procedure, you will be able to leave as soon as the test is completed.
Contact Alabama Coastal Radiology with any questions concerning an upcoming MRI scan.