What to Expect When Getting an MRI

Feb 23, 2021

What to Expect When Getting an MRIYour doctor may want to get a more in-depth look at an injury or issue and recommend scheduling an MRI, which stands for magnetic resonance image. Movies and television shows can make getting an MRI seem stressful or scary, so it can be helpful to learn more about the process in order to address any misconceptions. An MRI is a non-invasive and pain-free diagnostic imaging tool to provide your doctors with highly detailed images of your body. If your doctor refers you to a Marietta imaging center for an MRI, there are some things you can do to prepare and information that will help you know what to expect out of the experience.

How to Prepare for an MRI

You don’t actually have to do much in order to prepare for an MRI scan! However, there are some things you should know and discuss with your doctor because of how the MRI uses strong magnetic fields to take these images. That means certain conditions may affect your ability to get an MRI scan, such as having a pacemaker, internal devices like an insulin pump, cochlear implants, and other conditions that are not compatible with magnets. There are also certain conditions that would prevent you from getting an MRI, like pregnancy.

There are a few things to pay attention to when you dress for an MRI scan, like not wearing any jewelry or metal accessories. If you have claustrophobia or experience anxiety about being in enclosed spaces, it is helpful to talk with your doctor about this beforehand and your doctor may be able to prescribe you an oral medication to take during your MRI scan. Your doctor will also prepare you ahead of time if they request an MRI with contrast, which would require an injection or consumption of a fluid that provides contrast for the imaging.

What to Expect Before an MRI

When you arrive for your MRI scan at our Marietta imaging center, you will likely change into a gown and confirm you are not wearing any jewelry or any metal accessories. The radiologist who will perform the MRI scan will talk with you about the process you are about to undergo and provide time for you to answer any questions or concerns you may have about the procedure. There are several reasons why a doctor may recommend an MRI, like an injury, illness, or other condition. If you have an injury or condition that may affect your mobility, you can talk with your doctor and the radiologist about any assistance you might need. If your doctor requests an MRI with contrast then you will get an injection of the contrast fluid at this time.

What to Expect During an MRI

The average MRI scan takes 45 minutes, though the time frame will depend on the reason for your MRI scan and what areas of your body require imaging. You will lie on your back and the radiologist will need you to stay still during the actual scan. There will be a two-way intercom for communication between you and the radiologist, and they will walk you through the process. The actual MRI machine has openings on both ends, is well lit, and even has a fan to help keep you comfortable. During the actual MRI scan, you will hear loud banging sounds like the magnets inside the MRI machine are shifting and doing their work. Your Marietta imaging specialist may provide you with earplugs or headphones to help diminish these sounds. You won’t be able to feel the magnetic fields and radio waves as they pass through your body for the scan.

What to Expect After an MRI

After your MRI scan, you will be able to head home right away! The radiologist will then send the images to your doctor for review. This will help your doctor to see more details and understand your injury or illness better in order to determine your next steps for treatment. At AICA Orthopedics, our multi-specialty teams of doctors and health practitioners work together to provide you with the comprehensive care you deserve. We offer MRI scans and other diagnostic imaging tests in-house, so you don’t have to travel somewhere different for the scan. This also means your records will be accessible in one location so your doctors can work together in developing the best treatment plan for you.

You might want to get some answers for other MRI frequently asked questions! For Marietta imaging tests like MRI scans, visit our AICA Orthopedics location in Marietta.