What You Need To Know Before Your First MRI

Health & Medical Blog

If you're having a MRI for the first time, it's perfectly normal to be scared. The process itself is pretty routine. You're placed into a large cylinder-shaped machine that takes pictures of the inside of your body. While the procedure doesn't hurt, it's common for people to feel anxious about being in an enclosed space. Fortunately you can ease your anxiety by making sure you're completely prepared for the procedure.

Before Your MRI

Unless otherwise directed, you should eat and drink normally before your MRI. Once you arrive, you will be instructed to change into a gown and remove anything made with metal, such as:

  • Jewelry
  • Hairpins
  • Bras with underwires
  • Glasses

If necessary, you'll also need to take off your wig and remove your dentures.

Things That Could Affect Your MRI

There are also some things that you need to make the MRI tech aware of so that he or she can alter the MRI process if necessary. Your technician needs to know if you:

  • Have a pacemaker
  • Have a history of kidney problems
  • Are pregnant
  • Are claustrophobic
  • Have tattoos
  • Have an previous bullet or shrapnel wounds
  • Have a history of diabetes

There are also other things that can affect the results of a MRI including:

  • Neurostimulators
  • Insulin pumps or other implanted drug infusion devices
  • Artificial heart valves
  • Cochlear implants
  • Vascular stents or stent grafts
  • Metal implants or prosthesis

Overcoming Your Anxiety

It's completely normal for people to be anxious about getting an MRI. Fortunately, the process doesn't talk too long, so you just need to find a way to remain calm until the test is complete.

  • Wear squishy — non-metal — earplugs to block out the noise. Some technicians will give you a pair to use, but you should bring some just in case. Make sure your technician knows that you plan to use them before the MRI begins.
  • Keep your eyes closed during the process. The MRI won't hurt your eyes, so you don't have to be afraid to open them, but keeping them closed helps block out your surroundings.
  • Practice deep breathing techniques before your MRI and use them to remain calm during the process.
  • Imagine yourself in your happy place.
  • Sing your a few of your favorite songs in your head during the process to help pass the time. Remember, MRIs can last between 20 minutes and an hour, so doing things such as humming, singing, or counting can keep your mind off the procedure and help you relax. 

It's completely normal to feel anxious or scared before your first MRI. Just remember, the test doesn't hurt. You'll be fine when it's over. If you do have any concerns talk to your technician before the procedure begins.


29 June 2016

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