Patient Safety Tips

Patient safety tips prior to the procedure

Certain conditions may prevent you from having a MRI procedure due to the strong magnetic fields used during MRI. Before an MRI, let your doctor and MRI technicians know if the following conditions apply to you. Sometimes, the MRI can be altered depending on the patient’s condition.

  • Pacemaker
  • Pregnancy
  • Claustrophobia
  • History of kidney problems
  • Skin tattoos
  • Neurostimulators (TENS-unit)
  • Implanted drug infusion device (i.e., insulin pump)
  • Exposure of metal fragments to your eye
  • Artificial heart valves
  • Aneurysm clips
  • Cochlear implants
  • Metallic implants and prosthesis
  • Vascular stent or stent graft
  • History as a metal worker
  • Shrapnel or bullet wounds
  • Dorsal column simulators
  • Allergy to iodine, or gadolinium
  • History of diabetes
  • Other conditions you believe to be relevant

Other Tips

  • Please leave jewelry at home as it has to be removed prior to entering the scan room.
  • Please let us know if you need interpreting services.
  • Please bring a list of your current medications.
  • If you experience anxiety related to claustrophobia, your doctor may prescribe an oral medication for you to take with you for your MRI appointment.

What can I expect before my MRI exam?

There is little preparation for an MRI exam. Your doctor will let you know if there is are any special instructions for you to follow based on your health and your exam.

  • Please arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your exam.
  • To eliminate possible MR safety issues, you will be asked to change into a hospital gown.
  • A technologist will verify your identification and the requested exam. If MRI contrast is needed, an IV catheter will be inserted in your arm.

What can I expect during my MRI scan?

  • Average time for an MRI is 45 minutes to one hour per body part.
  • You will be required to lie still during the actual MR scanning. Depending on the body part that is being examined, you may be instructed to hold your breath for up to 30 seconds.
  • The magnet is permanently open on both ends. It is well lit and there is a fan for patient comfort. There is also an intercom system for communication between patient and technologist.
  • During the actual imaging, you will hear a loud intermittent banging noise. You will be provided with earplugs or head phones to minimize the noise.
  • The technologist will also provide you with an alarm button to alert the technologist of any discomfort you may experience at any point during the MRI exam.
  • Some MRI exams require an injection of intravenous MRI contrast. Inform the technologist if you experience any discomfort during the injection.

What can I expect after my MRI scan?

  • If a dye injection is used, the IV is removed from the arm before you go home.
  • Allergic reaction from the dye is extremely rare. However, if you experience symptoms such as rash, hives, or shortness of breath, you should notify the technologist immediately if you are still at the imaging facility, or call your doctor or go to the nearest hospital if you have already left the imaging facility.
  • In the event that sedation is needed (such as for claustrophobia), you will be sent home once awake and alert. If you receive sedation, someone must drive you home.