No special preparation is necessary before your exam. You may eat and drink as you normally do. You may wear your own clothing if it contains no metal such as zippers, snaps, etc. A good choice would be comfortable, loose-fitting clothes. Please note that we keep the MRI suite on the cool side because of the equipment, so you may want to dress accordingly. If your clothing is unsuitable, a dressing gown is provided, and blankets are available. A restroom and individual dressing rooms are available for your privacy. All metal objects, including coins, jewelry, credit cards and watches and hairpins must be removed and will be secured in your dressing room during the exam. Dyes used in tattoos may contain iron and could heat up during MRI, but this is rarely a problem. If you might be pregnant you should mention this to the technician.
The strong magnetic field used in MRI can disrupt the operation of an implanted cardiac pacemaker or other medical device. You will be asked whether you have a pacemaker, artificial heart valve, implanted drug infusion port, artificial limb, intrauterine device, or any metal pins, screws, plates or surgical staples. In most cases, metal objects used in orthopedic surgery pose no risk during MRI. Other objects that may prohibit MRI are an inner ear implant, clips used on brain aneurysms, or a recently placed artificial joint. Sheet metal workers and others who might have metal objects such as a bullet or shrapnel in their body should have an x-ray performed before having an MRI.
Because your doctor may request oral or injected contrast to obtain the clearest images, the radiologist or technologist will ask you about allergies of any kind such as hay fever, hives, allergic asthma or allergy to food or medications. The technologist should know of any serious health problems because some may prevent you from having an MRI with contrast. People who tend to be claustrophobic might become uncomfortable and find it difficult to lie still during the exam. A sedative will relieve anxiety in this situation, but fewer than one in twenty patients will require such medication. Our Siemens Verio machine has a short tunnel and a broad opening that further minimizes this feeling. We hope to make your experience at Bethesda MRI pleasant and comfortable. Please let our staff know how we can best meet your personal needs during this examination.