Doctors need an accurate, detailed diagnosis in order to treat serious medical conditions. For some patients, that might mean an MRI.
An MRI provides more information about issues seen on X-rays, ultrasounds or CT scans. They are done with a doctor’s order for a variety of conditions:
- Spine or brain injury
- Heart disease
- Organ malfunction
- Joint damage
Regional One Health’s East Campus Imaging Center offers convenient MRI appointments so patients can get a diagnosis and start treatment quickly. Imaging Center Manager Susan Edwards addressed common questions about what to expect if your doctor asks for an MRI.
What happens during the test?
You’ll lie very still on a narrow table that will slide you into a short tube. Inside the tube you’ll hear some loud noises as the machine takes images. The test takes between 30 and 45 minutes.
What can I bring and wear?
The machine uses a powerful 23,000-pound magnet. That means metal and electronics are off-limits, including:
- All jewelry and piercings
- Wigs and hair accessories
- Underwire bras
- Metal zippers, snaps and fasteners
- Nail polish, makeup and deodorant. These can have trace amounts of metal.
- Cell phones and other electronics
- Credit cards with magnetic strips
There are exceptions for some medical devices. You can still have an MRI, but you should tell your doctor and imaging tech if you have the following:
- Braces or metal crowns
- Implants or artificial joints
- Hearing implants
- Vascular stents or implanted pacemakers or defibrillators. Please bring your device information cards with make and model number. That allows providers to verify it is compatible for the test. Without the information, the exam will be delayed.
Can I eat or drink before my test?
You can usually eat, drink and take medication. Listen to your doctor. He or she may ask you to fast, or may ask that you consume a lot of water before the test.
What if I’m pregnant?
MRIs are safe throughout pregnancy. Expectant mothers have been having them for years.
What if I’m still nervous?
The East Campus’s MRI room has windows on every wall and the machine has a larger “donut hole” than is standard. This is designed to make patients feel less claustrophobic.
Patients are encouraged to listen to music or wear earplugs since the machine is loud. You can have one person in the room with you, so bring a friend or family member for support.
You can also take anti-anxiety medication ahead of time as prescribed by your doctor. The East Campus Imaging Center does not prescribe or provide the medication.
How do I schedule a test?
The East Campus Imaging Center has a short wait time for scheduling an MRI. Appointments are available between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday-Friday.