Getting an MRI scan can be intimidating and, if it’s your first time to do so, you probably aren’t sure how to prepare. Once you are approved and scheduled to get an MRI by your doctor, preparing for the scan itself is relatively easy.
1. Know how an MRI works
A Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan allows physicians to see what’s going on inside the body without using surgery, harmful dyes, or X-rays. It uses powerful magnets, radiowaves and computers to produce detailed images of the human anatomy. There are a few different kinds of MRI machines, the two most common being a closed MRI or an open MRI.
2. Make sure an MRI is safe for you
Many studies have concluded that MRI is one of the safest technologies for imaging the body but it is not recommended for everyone. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has long been considered dangerous for people who have electronic heart devices like pacemakers and defibrillators implanted in their bodies but it is not always ruled out as an imaging option. If you have any type of metal inside the body, including metal plates, wires, screws or rods, you must check with our staff and your doctor to determine whether the scan can be done. Other things like aneurysm clips may not be safe either.
3. Have your documents ready
Before scheduling your exam, you will be required to submit your doctor’s referral (the scan prescription), a form of ID, and your insurance card should you choose to use insurance. Medmo will have a record of these on file but we highly suggest you bring these documents to the imaging center on the day of the appointment just in case. Almost all imaging centers require patients to bring in a form of ID and their insurance card on the day of the appointment. Call your imaging center beforehand to check in with their policies.
4. Eat and take medications as usual
There are no food or drink restrictions before getting an MRI. There are also no medication restrictions, so please feel free to continue eating and taking meds like usual, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
5. Remove all metal objects
All removable metallic objects must be removed before going into the scanning room. These include jewelry, keys, watches, coins, eyeglasses, removable hearing aids, dentures and prosthetic devices. You must also take out your credit card and leave that outside the room as well! An MRI’s large magnet can easily corrupt the information stored on them, since credit cards are magnetically coded.
6. Dress comfortably in loose clothing with no metal
The main thing to avoid during an MRI scan is to have metal on/near patients. Some ICs will provide patients with a hospital gown during the scan, which eliminates the possibility of wearing metal. Other centers will allow patients to wear their own clothes which means it is up to the patient to make sure there is no metal on them. We suggest wearing loose, comfortable clothing with no metal fasteners or zippers. No body piercings or other jewelry. If you are having a neck or head MRI, don’t wear makeup just in case. You should also let the technician and physicians know of any tattoos (including eyebrow or eyeliner tattoos) you may have. When in doubt, connect with Medmo’s Care Team on our homepage and we will let you know what to leave at home.
7. Get there early and relax
Like any medical appointment, it’s always a great idea to come 15 minutes early to fill out any additional paperwork needed. An MRI requires you to remove all your metallic jewelry so if you know that is going to be time consuming, you may want to do that at home. Arriving at the center early allows you to get settled in before the scan and ask the center’s staff and technicians any additional questions you may have. Scans typically take 15-45 minutes. AN MRI has no physiological side effects, so you should be perfectly fine to drive home afterwards.
To book a scan, visit us at Medmo.com. Medmo helps people schedule radiology imaging tests – such as MRI, CT scans, PET, and more – at nearby accredited centers and identify the payment solution that works best for them.