If you have been scheduled to have an MRI, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan, you are not alone. MRIs are a common medical scan that doesn’t use radiation. It allows your doctor to examine the soft tissue in your body without the risks of surgery.
How an MRI Works
Unlike a CT scan, which uses radiation like a traditional x-ray, an MRI uses magnets to create a magnetic field around your body.
At that point, a radio frequency is used to affect the protons in the fluids within the tissues of your body. Sensors capture the reaction and create high quality, detailed images of the nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, and tissues from the data it receives.
Before Your MRI
An MRI is a painless procedure. Follow your doctor’s instructions for the procedure. Inform your doctor and technician if you have tattoos, piercings, or any other metal in your body. Some metals may be affected by the MRI.
If you have any medical conditions that may interfere with lying very still for more than half an hour, inform your doctor and technician. Claustrophobia is another condition that may affect you during an MRI. Discuss alternatives with your doctor if you suffer from this fear of enclosed spaces.
Immediately Prior to Your Scan
Leave all of your jewelry and any valuables at home. You will have to change into a hospital gown and a locker may not be provided. Women may prefer to wear a sports bra or other supportive undergarment that doesn’t have metal fasteners. You will not be able to wear undergarments that use metal during the scan.
During Your Scan
Once you are ready for the scan, you will be asked to lie on a table. The technician may use pillows and other supportive pieces for your comfort and to ensure you don’t move during the scan.You may be advised to not swallow or limit swallowing to the periods between scans.
Once you are in position, the table you are lying on will be inserted in the MRI machine. Once the scan begins you will hear a series of knocks and thumps. This is normal.
If you have mild claustrophobia, close your eyes and focus on your breathing during the scan. It is important that you do not move at all during the scan. You may be provided with music or an emergency button if you cannot tolerate the confined space.
After Your MRI
An MRI has no side effects. You will be able to continue your day as normal without any worries. The results of your scan within a week. Contact your doctor if you have any other questions or concerns.