Hearing that you require an MRI (magnetic resonance imagining) scan can be scary, especially if you have never had one done before. While the process seems unnerving when you first hear about it, it’s pretty straightforward and doesn’t require much preparation. If you’re worried about an upcoming MRI scan, this article will help you prepare by explaining the process, what you need to do to prepare, and what you should expect at your appointment.
Before the MRI
Fortunately, preparing for an MRI scan is easy. In most cases, you’re allowed to eat, drink, and take your medication as usual. In some cases, you may be asked to fast or drink large amounts of water. Your doctor will let you know about these requirements beforehand.
Because MRIs use magnetic waves, you’ll be asked to remove all metal objects before the scan. This is because metals can distort results or cause safety issues. This includes clothes with metal (like jeans), body jewellery, hair accessories, underwire bras, eyeglasses, wigs, etc. Medical devices like hearing aids and dentures also have to be removed before the procedure.
To ensure your clothes are metal-free, you may be asked to change into a gown. However, some facilities may allow you to wear your own clothes if they are free of metal zips, buttons, buckles, etc.
During the MRI
During the MRI, you will be lying on a table that will slide into the scanner. While the procedure is painless, the magnet will produce tapping and banging noises. In some cases, patients are injected with materials like gadolinium so the MRI results are clearer and more detailed.
Depending on what is being examined, an MRI can last anywhere from 15 minutes to over an hour. You will be expected to stay still this entire time so that the images captured are clear. You’ll be given earphones or headphones to minimise the noise and will be able to communicate with the technician through an intercom system. If you’re claustrophobic, you may have to take a sedative.
After the MRI
If you were injected with the gadolinium dye, the nurse would remove the IV after the MRI scan. Be sure to keep an eye out for a possible allergic reaction. While rare, it is possible and may require you to go to the emergency room or the imaging centre, depending on the severity. If you were sedated, you will be released when you are awake and alert.
MRI scans are non-invasive and pain-free. However, knowing what to expect before, during, and after a bulk bill MRI can help you prepare and put your mind at ease. This will then result in a more positive and calming experience.