Before an MRI

Getting an MRI or MRA doesn't have to be a scary thing.

What happens before an MRI exam.

Before getting an MRI scan, you need to inform your doctor or MRI staff of any of the following situations apply to you:

- You are or might be pregnant.

- You have a pacemaker, artificial limb, any metal pins or metal parts in your body (especially in the eyes), metal heart valves, metal clips in your brain, metal implants in your ear, tattooed eyeliner, or any other implanted or prosthetic medical device.

- You have had an accident or work around metal. This increases the possibility that you have metal fragments in your head, eyes, skin, or spine. An X-ray may be taken first, to see if you can have the MRI test.

- You had recent surgery on a blood vessel.

- You have an intrauterine device (IUD) in place.

- You are allergic to any medicines.

- You wear any medicine patches.

- You have any other health conditions, such as kidney problems or sickle cell anemia, that may prevent you from having an MRI using contrast material.

Before the test, you may need to sign a consent form that says you understand the risks of an MRI and agree to have the test done. For an MRI of the abdomen or pelvis, you may be asked to not eat or drink for several hours before the test.

In some cases, your test can be done with open MRI equipment. In many cases, these open MRI machines are not as confining as standard MRI machines. But because either type of machine takes place in a large tube and you will need to lie very still, some patients may feel nervous or claustrophobic. With a doctor's prescription, a mild sedative can be given prior to the MRI scan to help alleviate these feelings, but there are many other alternatives to relieve these feelings.

Before the test you will need to remove all metal objects (hearing aids, dentures, jewelry, watches, and hairpins) from your body. Most places will give you a gown to use during the test. You will need to take off all or most of your clothes, depending on which area is examined. You may be allowed to keep on your underwear if it is not in the way. However, depending on the area to be scanned, you may be allowed to keep some of your clothes on. If so, you should empty your pockets of any coins and cards (such as credit cards or ATM cards) with scanner strips on them because the MRI magnet may erase the information on the cards.

The MRI and MRA experience:

Before the MRI
During the MRI
After the MRI


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Other Types of MRIs

AbdomenAdrenal GlandsAppendixBackBile DuctsBladderBlood VesselsBoneBowelBrainBreastCervical SpineCervixChestDiscFallopian TubeFetusFootFull BodyGallbladderHeadHeartJointKidneyLegLiverLumbarLymph NodesMRANeckNoseOveriesPancreasPelvisPenisProstateScrotumShoulderSpineSpleenTesticlesTumorUrethraUterusVertebraeWhole Body


IMPORTANT: The information on this page, and throughout the entire site, is not intended to provide advice or treatment for a specific situation. Consult your physician and medical team for information and treatment plans on your specific condition(s). Images are shown for illustrative purposes. Do not attempt to draw conclusions or make diagnoses by comparing these image to other medical images, particularly your own.

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