What You Need to Know Before Your MRI Procedure

Regardless of the reason you need to have a medical imaging procedure performed, you likely have a few questions about what will occur. MRIs, or magnetic resonance imaging, are performed for numerous conditions, everything from sports injuries to detecting cancer and functional disorders, so the questions posed to radiologists often have a great deal of subject range.

At Doctors Imaging in Metairie, we try to answer all of your questions and to make sure that you have the most beneficial and comfortable imaging procedure possible. One way we do this is by having a thorough consultation process as well as sharing information regarding precautions that need to be taken before and after your MRI procedure.

If you are coming in to have an MRI performed, there are a few facts that you need to know to help make your procedure as efficient and suitable as possible. To begin, if you are unaware, an MRI machine uses a large circular magnet (or incomplete circle for open MRIs) and radio waves combined with computer technology in order to create images of the internal structures of the body. Because of the strong magnet within the machine, be sure that you have removed any metal objects such as jewelry, hair pins, eyeglasses, wigs, dentures, hearing aids, watches, belts, and shoes. If any of these objects have metal parts, they will interfere with the image’s quality.

If you have certain implanted objects, be sure to let the radiologist or technician know about these objects before your MRI procedure begins. Items like prosthetic joints, pacemakers, IUDs, tattoos, metal plates or surgical screws can alter the MRI image. Women and girls should not wear any form of eye makeup to their MRI because some mascaras and eyeshadows contain metallic flecks that can cause problems with the images. Yes, even something that small can cause the images produced to be inconsistent so if you have other questions about what to wear or bring to your MRI, feel free to call Doctors Imaging at any time. In addition, if you think you may be pregnant or if you are having kidney difficulties, it is important that you let our staff know these things. While MRIs do not use radiation, doctors may want to go with another option for getting their results if the patient is pregnant. Kidney function problems need to be shared with doctors because contrast material may be used during your imaging procedure and as you’ll see below, contrast material can have adverse reactions in those with kidney problems.

Depending on what your MRI is for, doctors may sometimes ask that you refrain from eating up to an hour before your procedure in order to improve the quality of the images. Your doctor may also have to use contrast material during your MRI in order to highlight and enhance the visibility of certain blood vessels and areas of the body for examination. Technicians will begin the exam and about two-thirds of the way through the exam, the contrast will be administered intravenously. Most patients describe a flushing or cooling sensation around the injection site or a slight metallic taste in the mouth. These are all normal sensations but if you feel uncomfortable at any time during your procedure, speak up and let the technologist know so they may assist you. If you have kidney function problems, be sure to let your radiologist know so that safe use of contrast material can be considered. In those with normal kidney function, contrast material is eventually filtered out of the body with no problems but for those with kidney problems, contrast material may not be filtered out of the body ,

At Doctors Imaging in Metairie, we’re radiologists concerned about patient care. Fill out this online form or call 504-883-8111 to get in touch with us.