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What to Expect During Your First MRI

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Magnetic Resonance Imagining, more commonly abbreviated as MRI, is one of the most common medical procedures around the world. It is an entirely safe procedure that examines the insides of your body. It is used to detect certain diseases and abnormalities which cannot be examined otherwise. For example, doctors at Intermountain Medical Imaging use this technology to examine the brain, joints, spine, breasts and heart, to name a few. 

Here is what you can expect on the day of your MRI.

Prepping for an MRI

  • You do not need to do any preparation prior to your appointment. Upon arrival, you will be asked to change into a hospital gown as it does not restrict access. MRIs involve the use of magnets which is why you will need to remove all jewelry. 
  • You may need to consult with your doctor in case you have any metal inside your body. This includes bullets, shrapnel, pacemakers, and implants. 
  • You should also consult with your doctor if you suffer from claustrophobia or feel anxious in confined spaces. It can be overwhelming which is why doctors may give you anti-anxiety pills prior to the procedure. 
  • The doctor may also inject you with an intravenous (IV) contrast liquid. This is no cause for concern as it only helps improve the visibility of the target tissue. 
  • The procedure requires you to lie down in the machine. Hospital staff may provide you with cushions or blankets to make you more comfortable. 
  • Doctors and nurses are present throughout the procedure to answer any questions. You will also be able to speak with them while in the machine through a microphone. 
  • Many patients are also provided with earplugs to reduce loud noises. This is especially true for children and young adults to reduce anxiety. 

During the MRI

  • As aforementioned, a telecom system is installed in the MRI room. Once you’re settled into the machine, the doctor will communicate with you and start the procedure only when you’re ready. 
  • It is vital for the patient to remain absolutely still for the duration of the scan. Movement during the scan can disrupt the imaging. You may even need to hold your breath depending on the body part being scanned. 

After an MRI

MRIs usually do not take long. However, it is important to be patient. Medical staff may ask you to stay in the machine for longer. This depends on the radiologist’s satisfaction with the images. Having an MRI procedure done is similar to using a camera. The photographer wants to ensure that the object is not moving, and the image is as clear as possible. 

The Results

Once the results have been examined, your doctor will call you back to their office to discuss the findings with you. This may take a few days. Side effects from MRIs are rare. Contrast dye, however, may cause hives, nausea or headaches. Keep an eye out for any side effects and report them to your doctor. 

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