Into the MRI Machine: What Getting an MRI Scan Is Like

Into the MRI Machine: What Getting an MRI Scan Is Like

Even if you’ve never heard of an MRI scan, you’ve definitely seen someone get one on your favorite medical drama. An MRI, which stands for “magnetic resonance imaging,” is a common medical procedure. It allows your doctor to see inside your body through a computer screen by using powerful magnets and radio waves.

Your doctor may recommend that you get an MRI scan to diagnose any number of conditions. For example, if you are having hip pain, then your doctor could use this painless procedure to determine if avascular necrosis is causing your hip condition.

No matter what condition you may have, if you are getting an MRI for the first time, then there are a few things you need to be aware of before you go into your appointment. Keep reading to learn what to expect during your MRI procedure.

Leave Jewelry and Any Metals at Home

Before you enter the MRI machine, a nurse will ask you to remove any metals you may have on you. This includes jewelry, belt buckles, and watches.

Because an MRI machine is magnetic, any metals that may be on your person would interfere with it. If you have a pacemaker or some other metal implant, then you should let your doctor know as these can also interfere with the procedure.

Be Aware of What You May Be Injected With

When you go in for your MRI scan, it’s possible that a medical professional will give you contrast materials. A contrast material is a substance that improves the diagnostic value of the imaging results.

If a medical professional gives you contrast materials, then they will also give you a saline flush. The purpose of this saline chaser is to push out any unused contrast materials in the connected tubing and your peripheral vessels. Once they give you the saline chaser, you can expect there to be a salty taste at the back of your throat.

Neither the contrast materials nor the saline flush is radioactive. Your body will flush out both substances within 24 hours after your procedure.

Expect There to Be Loud Noises

If you are claustrophobic, then you can ask for sedation during your procedure.

If you chose to get your MRI without sedation, then you should be prepared to hear loud, unusual sounds throughout the duration of the scan. These are simply the sounds of the machine doing its job and are no cause for alarm. You may be able to listen to music using headphones to drown out some of the noise, but the machine will always be louder than any music player.

Go Into Your Medical Procedure Prepared

Although getting a medical procedure is never fun, now that you know what to expect, you can go into your MRI scan feeling prepared. Remember, leave any jewelry or metals at home, know that you may be injected with contrast materials, and be prepared for the machine to make loud noises.

If you have any related questions, then contact us and we’ll do our best to answer them.