If your doctor has ordered you to go for an MRI, you may have questions about preparing for your test and what to expect. In most cases, there isn't much prep work needed, but there are some things you need to know beforehand, to make the test go smoother. If you're nervous about undergoing the MRI, being prepared can help ease your mind. Your fears may be more about the unknown, so the more you educate yourself about MRIs, the more relaxed you're likely to be on your test day.
While there isn't much to prepare for, there are a few things you do not want to do before your MRI, including:
Let your doctor know if you have claustrophobia, as open MRI machines are available to help alleviate your fears. The test is the same as a regular MRI, but you don't have to be in an enclosed tube. Open MRIs can be standing or seated.
You must remove all jewelry before an MRI, so you might as well just leave it all at home. This includes body piercings, no matter where they're located. As an MRI machine is magnetic, jewelry can affect the test results or lead to injury.
It's imperative not to get any new piercings in your ears or body in the weeks before an MRI. You can remove older piercings without affecting the hole to put your jewelry right back in after your MRI. However, a new piercing is likely not to be healed yet, and removing jewelry for your MRI can cause the hole to close during the test, leading to complications and needing to get the area re-pierced.
Other health conditions that can affect an MRI are:
You need to discuss your medical history with your doctor and go over all the details to ensure it's appropriate for you to have an MRI. If you have some of the prior conditions, you may still be able to have an MRI, but if there's too much metal in your body or you have implants, your doctor may opt for another kind of test. Going over your medical history is crucial in preparing for your MRI.
Unless your doctor has specified a change you should make, the best course is not to change anything to ensure that your test results will be accurate as your health will be at its normal baseline. Try to keep your schedule the same: waking, sleeping, going about your daily activities, and working. Continue to take your prescribed medications, drink enough water, and get adequate rest.
Maintaining your lifestyle is essential so that your test won't have misleading results based on recent changes or any other disruptions to your health right before your MRI. You want to give your radiologist and doctor a chance to interpret your test results according to how you're regularly doing.
If you happen to catch a cold before your test, you may need to reschedule your MRI until you get over your illness. It's essential to remain still for a while when inside the machine, and if you need to blow your nose or you're coughing or sneezing, it will be impossible to administer the test properly.
Avoid foods that trigger your symptoms 24 to 48 hours before your scheduled MRI if you have acid reflux. This is because you will be lying down inside the machine for half an hour or more, and your symptoms may bother you during your test if you don't take these precautions.
At your pre-MRI consult, your doctor may give you instructions regarding avoiding certain foods before your test, trying out a different nutritional program, or stepping up your exercise. Heed your doctor's instructions. They may also prescribe you a new medication or discontinue an old one. If they stress any change to your routine, follow all their guidelines. Your doctor's instructions are to make sure your MRI goes as well as possible and to ensure your MRI produces the best images so that your doctor can diagnose you or help you with an ongoing condition.
When you arrive for your MRI, you'll be instructed to remove any clothing that has metal. If you wish not to wear a gown, you can wear clothing without metal zippers or metal buttons. If you don't want to do so, it may be easier just to wear the gown provided for the test. You'll be instructed to lay down on a moveable platform, and you'll have a sheet and pillow provided to you.
The machine will be slightly noisy, and you can ask for music or ear plugs for the duration of the MRI. The platform slides into the MRI machine, and all you have to do then is stay as still as possible while the test is performed. The technician will be present at all times, and you can communicate with them through a speaker. If you're in discomfort or distress during the test, don't worry; you won't be alone. Just relax, remain still, and it will be over before you know it.
For more information on MRIs and what to expect at your appointment, visit Grapevine Imaging. We provide physicians with top diagnostic care, including MRIs, X-rays, and CT scans.