How to Prepare for Your Magnetic Resonance Scan

If your doctor has ordered magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), you might wonder what to expect if you’ve never undergone a scan. While MRIs use complex technology involving a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and computers to create images, the procedure is noninvasive and simpler than most people imagine.

Types of MRIs

The first step in preparing for your Columbus MRI is asking about the type of imaging ordered to have a better idea of what to expect. For example, for a scan of your head, you could require a contrast MRI, during which you receive a contrast agent via IV. If you have problems with enclosed spaces, your doctor might order an open MRI or medication to help you relax prior to the procedure.

According to New York University’s Langone Medical Center, patients with a history of diabetes, kidney problems or high blood pressure might need to have lab work in order to check creatinine levels. Some centers require this test for patients over a specified age.

Sharing Health Information

MedlinePlus says that before scheduling your MRI, you should let your doctor know if you have artificial heart valves, cochlear implants, a pacemaker or heart defibrillator or brain aneurysm clips. Your physician also needs to know if you’ve had dialysis or kidney disease, recent artificial joints, vascular stents or experience working with sheet metal. Some of these situations might prevent you from having the exam.

The cost of an MRI varies according to type. Most major health insurance companies cover some of the cost. Our Columbus MRI Center is happy to share MRI prices and work with patients to make sure the cost of an exam doesn’t interfere with patient care.

Preparing for Your Exam

A magnetic resonance scan might require fasting for 4 to 6 hours, depending upon the type of MRI. Patients arriving for an Ohio MRI should avoid bringing metal objects such as jewelry, hearing aids, hair pins or eyeglasses into the exam room because of the magnetic field. If you have removable dental work, take it out right before your MRI.

Although you’ll have access to a locker for your clothes, it’s wise to leave valuables at home and arrive with your health insurance card and driver’s license for identification.

Undergoing Your MRI

The MRI center will provide you with a gown. Exams last around 30 to 60 minutes and should be painless. Since the equipment makes loud thumping and humming sounds, you might want to opt for head phones with music.

You will be able to speak to the staff at any time. Blankets are available if you feel chilly. The quality of images the MRI creates is due in part to your ability to remain very still.

After the MRI, you’ll return to the dressing area. The staff can advise when your doctor will receive exam results and if copies of images and reports will be available for you to pick up later.

Our Columbus MRI doctors excel at making safe, effective diagnoses. Patient comfort, which begins with knowing how to prepare for an exam, is our top priority.