Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests are standard procedures used to examine internal organs and tissues. The MRI provides medical professionals with the ability to detect problems that may not be noticed by x-rays, CT scans or other means. If you are scheduled to undergo an MRI, there are few essential things you should know about preparing for your appointment.
Gather Information on Previous Medical Issues
Spend some time before your MRI making a detailed list of any previous medical issues. Your MRI exam may need to be modified to accommodate certain conditions such as a history of kidney issues, cochlear implants, pregnancy, diabetes, allergies and even skin tattoos.
In addition, if you have a history of exposure to metal fragments, you need to let the MRI technician know. Metal workers, combat soldiers with shrapnel wounds, and anyone with a bullet wound falls into this category.
Wear the Right Attire
When you get dressed for your appointment, wear comfortable, loose-fitting garments without metal parts such as zippers, hooks and underwire. If you wear clothes that contain devices that may interfere with the MRI scanner, you will be asked to change into a hospital gown before your exam.
Do not wear any makeup. Some brands of makeup contain microscopic metal filaments that can decrease the quality of your MRI scan. In addition, leave your jewelry at home. You will have to take off your watch, earrings, eyeglasses, hearing aid and hair pins before the exam.
The length of your MRI will vary based on your medical condition and could last up to a couple of hours. You want to make sure that you are as comfortable as possible.
Call Ahead if You Have Special Needs
If you have special needs, you should call the MRI facility several days before your appointment to arrange accommodations. If you are hearing impaired, you may want to have an interpreter with you so you can understand what is going on during your appointment.
If you suffer from claustrophobia, the MRI technicians can help you to relax with techniques such as feet-first entry into the MRI machine, leaving your head outside of the scanning tunnel area.
Many MRI clinics provide music or allow you to use your own during the scanning, so come prepared with calming music to help you relax during your exam.
Arrive Early if Your Exam Includes Contrast
If your exam includes an MRI with contrast, you should probably arrive early. A health professional will use the extra time to inject you intravenously with a liquid that will enable your healthcare provider to see a greater contrast between normal and abnormal tissue in the MRI results.
If you have any other questions about your MRI, contact a company like Omega Diagnostic Imaging PC.