What To Expect When Getting An MRI Scan

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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive scanning technique that has found much popularity in recent years. The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) notes that MRI scanning utilizes a powerful magnet to create detailed, 3D renderings of your internal organs. It’s a much safer method for determining what’s going on inside your body than X-rays. Thanks to this increased level of safety, it’s found acceptance and widespread use throughout the world. Yet, many people aren’t sure what to expect when they hear they have to get an MRI scan. This article will seek to inform you about what you should expect from an MRI scan.

How To Prepare For An MRI Scan

We’ve already mentioned that an MRI machine uses a massive magnet. If you have any metal lodged in your body or piercings, you will need to get rid of them before going into the machine. Among the metal objects that may prevent you from having an MRI because they aren’t removable include:

Ø  Cochlear Implants (hearing aids)

Ø  Dental Fillings/Bridges

Ø  Surgical Pins/Clips

Ø  Pacemakers or Defibrillators

Before entering the machine, you must inform the staff of any metal within your body.

Another issue that some patients encounter before their MRI is claustrophobia. Many patients feel as though the enclosed space is too much for them. The hospital staff takes extra care in dealing with patients that may suffer from claustrophobia. If you need additional medicine to help you relax, the doctor will be glad to administer it to you.

What to Expect From an MRI Scan

You’ll most likely be asked to change into a hospital gown. This change is for your safety and ensures that no metal bits of your clothes are inadvertently ripped off by the magnetic field. If you’re taking a relative into the room with you, they’ll also need to give up any metal they have on them. These items may include keys, coins, or anything else that could be attracted by the massive magnetic field. You’ll be taken into the scanning room. The doctor may inject you with a dye to help the machine pick up your organs. It’s harmless and will leave your body within a few hours. The dye injection might cause some side effects. If it does, tell the nurse on duty, and she’ll do what she can to make you more comfortable.

The Scan Itself

During the machine’s operation, you need to remain as still as possible. Keeping movement to a minimum allows the device to take a clearer picture of your organs to help the doctors determine what’s wrong with you. You’ll most likely be lying on a couch which passes into the scanning tube. The machine usually makes loud clanging noises during the scan, so it’s nothing to be afraid of. Some operators offer you headphones to dampen the loud noises or listen to music. Occasionally, the operator may ask you to hold your breath a few times to take a still shot of your lungs. Once you’re finished, you may have to stay in the department for fifteen minutes or so to ensure that the dye doesn’t continue to make you sick. After that, you’re free to go. An MRI scan isn’t something scary, but knowing what to expect makes it easier to deal with.

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