How to Prepare for an MRI

Stand-Up MRI exam preparation

MRI SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

  1. Have a Pacemaker?

    Sorry, but if you have a pacemaker we will not be able to accommodate you.

  2. Have a metal particle(s) in your eye(s), or ever had a metal particle(s) removed from your eye(s)?

    Be sure to Inform the staff at the MRI center in advance of your appointment.

  3. Pregnant or might be pregnant?

    An MRI exam may be inadvisable. First consult with your doctor. If your doctor clears you for an MRI exam, an authorization form must be completed by your referring physician(s), including your OBGYN, in advance of your appointment. The interpreting radiologist will then review the case and consult with your physician(s), if necessary.

  4. Had heart surgery or surgery of the heart’s valves?

    An MRI exam may be inadvisable. First consult with your heart surgeon. If your doctor clears you for an MRI, you must inform the staff at the MRI center in advance of your appointment.

  5. Had brain surgery?

    You might not be able to have an MRI exam. Be sure to Inform the staff at the MRI center in advance of your appointment.

  6. Have or think you might have a metal object inside your body?

    You might not be able to have an MRI exam. Be sure to Inform the staff at the MRI center in advance of your appointment.

  7. Wear a medication patch?

    Be sure to Inform the staff at the MRI center in advance of your appointment.

OTHER SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

Tell the Medical Staff if any of these applies to you:

  • An Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD)
  • A Nerve Stimulator (Tens Unit)
  • A Cochlear Implant
  • A Drug Pump
  • Brain Aneurysm Clips
  • Penile Implant
  • Eye Implant
  • An Intrauterine Device (IUD)
  • Artificial Joints (hip replacement, knee replacement, etc.)
  • Dental Fillings and Bridges
  • Tubal Ligation Clips
  • Surgical Clips or Staples
  • Tattoos: Some tattoo inks contain traces of metal. You might feel discomfort or heat in the tattooed area during the MRI exam. If so, you should alert the MRI technologist.

HOW TO PREPARE FOR AN MRI

Preparing for an MRI exam is easy. You may take your medications as usual (if any) unless your doctor tells you otherwise. There are no food or drink restrictions.

MRI STUDIES “WITH CONTRAST”

In some cases the referring physician will order a contrast agent injected into the patient’s bloodstream immediately prior to the MRI exam. The contrast agent, known as gadolinium, stands out in the MRI pictures, thereby assisting the radiologist in detecting the patient’s problem.

If your doctor prescribes an MRI exam "with contrast," blood work will be required if you fall into any one of these categories:

  • You are 60 years old or older
  • You are diabetic
  • You have kidney problems
  • You have high blood pressure
  • You have liver disease

Blood work must be done no earlier than six (6) weeks prior to your scheduled MRI exam, and the results sent to the MRI facility in advance of your appointment.

As with any injection of a contrast-enhancing medium in the field of radiology, there is a slight chance of an adverse reaction. Reactions are typically in the form of headaches and/or nausea. Less common reactions include anaphylactic shock. The contrast agent will leave the bloodstream within 6 to 24 hours. If you are a nursing mother, it is suggested that you do not breast feed during the 24-hour period following the injection and that you should pump and dispose of the breast milk during that period.

For your safety, you will be asked the following questions prior to the injection of the contrast agent:

  • Have you ever had an allergic reaction to an MRI contrast agent?
  • Do you have a history of renal failure, kidney disease?
  • Are you on dialysis or being treated by a kidney physician (nephrologist)?
  • Is the any chance you are pregnant?
  • Are you currently breast feeding? Do you have a history of seizures?
  • Do you have a history of diabetes?
  • Are you on medication for hypertension/high blood pressure?

If you have an MRI study with contrast, do not have another MRI study with contrast at any time during the following 72 hours.

WHAT TO BRING WITH YOU

  • Photo I.D.
  • Insurance Information/Card
  • A Written Doctor´s Order, Prescription or “Script” for your MRI Exam
  • Cash, credit/debit card, or check for payment of copays and co-insurance
  • Note: If you already had diagnostic images made of the region of the body to be MRI-scanned (either prior MRI scans, CAT scans or any other relevant diagnostic tests), bring copies of the report(s) and, if requested by the radiologist who will be interpreting the MRI exam, copies of the diagnostic images as well (either film or a CD).

HOW TO DRESS FOR AN MRI EXAM

When it comes to how to dress for an MRI exam, the main thing to realize is that metal can degrade or ruin MRI pictures. Therefore, you should wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing (no dresses or skirts for modesty reasons), but keep in mind that metal must be avoided in or near the region where you are going to be scanned. Here are some examples:

  • If you are going to have a scan of the lower spine (lumbar spine) or the abdomen area, don't wear clothing or under-clothing that has metal on it in that area. For example, a body suit that has snaps in the crotch, or pants with fasteners or a zipper will cause a problem. Sweats with no eyelets would be fine. Also, body-pierced jewelry in that region must be removed
  • If you are having a scan in the head or neck area, remove all makeup (some makeup has metallic particles in it) and all metallic items such as hair clips, earrings, and facial jewelry, including body-pierced items. Notify the technologist if you have any facial tattoos, such as eyeliner or eyebrow tattoos.
  • If you are having a scan in the chest area, or upper torso, avoid clothing and under-clothing with metal hooks or fasteners. For example, a sweatshirt with metallic decorations or body-pierced jewelry in that region will cause a problem.

But don't worry. If you don't have suitable clothing, we will give you a gown.

WARNING: DO NOT BRING ANY OF THE FOLLOWING ITEMS INTO THE MRI EXAM ROOM

  • Hearing Aids
  • Wallets
  • Credit/Debit Cards
  • Jewelry, including Body-Piercing Jewelry
  • Keys
  • Watches
  • Loose Change
  • Eyeglasses
  • Cell Phones
  • Pagers
  • PDA's
  • Storage Media
  • Tablets/Laptops/Computers
  • Dentures
  • Prosthetic Devices
  • Insulin Pumps
  • Hair Pins/Bobby Pins

Why? Because an MRI scanner’s powerful magnetic field….

  • can damage or completely destroy hearing aids, watches, cell phones, PDA’s, storage media, insulin pumps, electronic keys, etc.
  • can erase credit/debit cards
  • can launch metallic objects, creating a serious hazard to patients and others
  • can degrade the quality of the MRI pictures, requiring you to return to repeat the MRI exam ? can degrade the quality of the MRI pictures, requiring you to return to repeat the MRI exam