Munson Health
 
Magnetic Resonance Imaging

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by Chwistek M

(Imaging, Magnetic Resonance; MRI Scan; MRI)

 

What to Expect

Prior to Test

Follow your doctors instructions regarding eating and drinking before the test. This will depend on what part of the body is being examined.
At the MRI center:
Your doctor may give you a medicine to calm you if you are anxious about the test. If your doctor prescribes a sedative you will need to arrange for a ride home. Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions on when to take the sedative. It may need to be taken 1-2 hours before the exam.
You may be:
  • Given ear plugs or headphones. The MRI machine makes a loud banging noise.
  • Given an injection of contrast dye into your vein.
  • Allowed to have a family member or friend with you during the test.

Description of Test

If a contrast dye is used, a small IV needle is inserted into your hand or arm.
You will lie very still on a sliding table. Depending on your condition, you may have monitors to track your pulse, heart rate, and breathing. The table will slide into a narrow, enclosed cylinder. In some machines, the sides are open, so you can look out into the room.
The technician will leave the room. Through the intercom, the technician will give you directions. You can talk to the technician through this intercom as well. The technician will take the pictures. When the exam is done, you will slide out of the machine. If you have an IV needle, it will be removed.
If you are claustrophobic or unable to lie on a flat table, there are open MRI machines available. They allow you to have the test done without being put in a narrow cylinder. There are also MRI machines that allow a patient to be in a sitting position. This may be important for patients with concerns, like a painful back.

After Test

You will be asked to wait at the facility while the images are examined. The technician may need more images.
If you took a sedative, do not drive, operate machinery, or make important decisions until it wears off completely.
If you are breastfeeding and receive a contrast dye, you and your doctor should discuss when you should resume breastfeeding. Information available has not found any ill effects to the baby of a breastfeeding mother who has had contrast dye.

How Long Will It Take?

40-90 minutes

Will It Hurt?

The exam is painless. If you have dye injected, there may be stinging when the IV needle is inserted. You may also feel a slight cooling sensation as the dye is injected.

Results

After the exam, a radiologist will analyze the images and send a report to your doctor. Your doctor will talk to you about the results and any further tests or treatment.
 

RESOURCES

United States National Library of Medicine
http://www.nlm.nih.gov

RadiologyInfo
http://www.radiologyinfo.org

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

Public Health Agency of Canada
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

 

References


Gould TA. How MRI works. How Stuff Works website. Available at: http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/mri.htm/printable . Accessed March 27, 2013.


Hailey D. Open magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners. Issues Emerg Health Technol . 2006 Nov;(92):1-4.


Kanal E, Barkovich A.J., et al. ACR Guidance Document for Safe MR Practices: 2013. J Magn Reson Imaging . 2013;37(3):501-530.


MRI of the Body (Chest, Abdomen, Pelvis). Radiology Info website. Available at: http://radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=bodymr . Updated April 24, 2012. Accessed March 27, 2013.


1/4/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us : US Food and Drug Administration. New warnings required on use of gadolinium-based contrast agents. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm225286.htm . Updated September 9, 2010. Accessed September 10, 2010.

 

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