Preparing for Your MRI Procedure
MRI is a totally painless process. However, depending on your
specific scan, you may have to lie still on your back for 30 to
45 minutes. In most cases, your head and upper body will be
inside the MRI machine, so if you are uncomfortable in tight
spaces, you will need to prepare yourself to cope with this
inconvenience. You will also hear a repetitive knocking noise
during the procedure, which some people find unpleasant. Here are
some tips to help you prepare.
The best way to dispel any fears you have about undergoing an MRI
is simply to talk with your doctor or the staff at the MRI
center. Don't ever be afraid to ask questions - even questions
you think might sound silly. If you have concerns about a
particular aspect of your MRI procedure, alternatives may be
Overcoming Your Fear of MRI
If you are afraid of being in tight spaces (claustrophobic) or
are unfamiliar with what happens during an MRI, you may be a bit
nervous about your upcoming procedure. However, learning these
facts about having an MRI should help to reduce your anxiety:
You're not closed in.
Although your head and upper body will likely go inside the MRI
machine, you will never be entirely closed in. If you look
above your head, you can clearly see out one end of the
machine, and if you look toward your feet, you will see that
the other end is open, too. More than likely, the lower part of
your body will lie entirely outside the machine.
You're in constant touch with staff.
You can easily communicate with the MRI technologist while you
are inside the machine - and he or she can communicate back to
you - through headphones you will receive before your
procedure. In addition, the MRI tech will be able to see you
throughout the scan.
You'll have light, air and music.
Inside the MRI machine, you will find a light and a fan. Before
your procedure, you will be offered earphones so that you can
listen to music or the radio during your procedure. You can
bring your own cd to listen to or you can choose from our
You can receive a mild sedative.
Most people can complete an MRI without the need for a sedative
to help them relax. However, if you are extremely fearful about
having your MRI, talk with your doctor about getting a
prescription medicine to take the day of your procedure. If
you're going to take a sedative, keep in mind that you will
need to arrange for someone to drive you to and from your MRI
appointment. Note that you must take the sedative before you
arrive. You cannot wait to take it right before or during the
procedure, because it takes at least an hour for the medication
to take effect.
You can choose another relaxing touch.
For many people, there is nothing like a moist, cool cloth over
the eyes and forehead to help them relax. We'll offer you this
low-tech, but extremely comforting, option.
A friend or family member can be nearby.
You are welcome to bring a friend or family member into the
scanning room with you. He or she can be there throughout your
The MRI staff is there to help.
Our staff will be glad to discuss any concerns you have before
your procedure and to offer alternatives, if any are available.
If at any time during your scan you feel absolutely unable to
continue, your MRI tech will stop the procedure and remove you
from the scanner.