MRI exams are painless and do not emit radiation as x-ray imaging does. However, most people feel a little (or a lot) nervous when they are told they need this type of diagnostic imaging. The staff at Summit Healthcare is here to help patients feel at ease during their imaging exams. Here, we discuss what you can expect before, during, and after your MRI so you can feel prepared well in advance of your visit.
What to Expect Before an MRI
While there have been advances in imaging technologies, MRI exams are still performed using a tube-like machine. Patients sometimes worry that they will become claustrophobic during their exam. If you know that you suffer from claustrophobia, talk to your doctor at the time they recommend this screening. They may prescribe an oral medication that has an antianxiety or sedative effect. Oral or IV medication tends to work extremely well at helping patients feel comfortable throughout their brief exam. Depending on the number of images requested, the exam may take from 15 minutes to 90 minutes. Your doctor or technologist can discuss how long you can expect to be in the machine.
It is beneficial to wear comfortable clothing to the MRI exam, and to remove all jewelry and metal. You may be asked to remove all clothing and don scrubs or a hospital gown to wear during the exam. Before placing you in the machine, the technologist may also ask a series of screening questions to ensure optimal safety. The most significant precaution with MRI exams is ensuring there is no metal on or inside the body, such as metal implants.
What to Expect During the MRI Exam
Comfort is a priority during MRI screenings. The technologist may provide a blanket, earplugs, or special instructions that will help you through your exam. For your MRI, you can expect:
- Padded table. Once you are positioned on the table, the technologist will slide it into the tunnel where scanning will occur.
- Call button. You will be observed for the entirety of your exam and will have a call button that enables you to alert your technologist if you experience discomfort or other concerns.
- Thumping. It can be helpful to expect the noise that the MRI machine makes. During the exam, the matching may make thumping noises or other sounds as magnetic fields change. This is why earplugs are provided.
- Remain still. MRI technologists prioritize comfort for each patient because it is necessary for them to remain very still during their exam.
Provided that the MRI is performed without sedation, you can resume your normal activities right after your exam. If your MRI includes the use of contrast dye, your technologist may advise you to go home and rest, in case minor side effects like headache or nausea occur. If your MRI is performed with a sedative, you will need to bring a loved one along with you to your visit so they can drive you home.
Summit Healthcare provides diagnostic imaging in Show Low and Snowflake, AZ. To schedule an imaging study at any location, contact us at (928) 537-6445