Do You Need to Prepare for an MRI Scan?


Whether you’re seeing your primary care physician for a wellness exam, you’re visiting a specialist for a diagnosis, or you’re getting ready for a medical procedure, you probably want to prepare for your appointment. Needless to say different medical visits require different preparation. Here’s some information to help you prepare for an MRI scan.

What is MRI?

MRI – magnetic resonance imaging – is a type of imaging test that looks at the organs, bones, and tissues of the body using a constant magnetic field, changing local magnetic fields, and radio waves. It’s used to diagnose conditions and examine structures inside the body.

MRI scans give physicians a view of certain parts of the body that they might not otherwise be able to see without imaging – such as the brain, joints, spine, or heart. This helps your doctor make a more accurate diagnosis.

Since MRI uses magnetic fields and radio frequencies, it doesn’t subject patients to radiation used for X-ray or CT scans. MRI scans typically take longer and are more expensive than CT scans. An MRI scan takes as little as fifteen minutes or as long as an hour, whereas a CT scan typically takes between five to ten minutes to complete.

How should I prepare for an MRI scan?

Roughly 10 million people undergo MRI scans each year. MRI is extremely safe when done properly. These scans are painless, and cause no known tissue damage of any kind.

Before the exam you will have to remove all ferromagnetic items, such as piercings and jewelry.

Most people complete MRI scans without any difficulty. Those who get scared or anxious in confined spaces may be given a sedative to help them through the scan.

Typically, there is little to no preparation that needs to be done by the patient for an MRI scan. Your doctor will provide any special instructions for your visit.

MRI & Imaging in Northwest Arkansas

MANA MRI & Imaging offer the best radiology services in Northwest Arkansas. MANA radiologists have provided radiology and imaging services in NWA since 1975. All of MANA’s MRI, CT, and ultrasound are accredited by the American College of Radiology. Talk to your doctor about a referral for MRI or other imaging services.