MRI’s: you may be familiar with the acronym, but not much else. The first thing you need is: Don’t worry! MRI’s or Magnetic Resonance Imaging has been around since the 1970s. The test is normally completely painless and does not involve radiation. What it does is helps doctors diagnose a very wide range of conditions that would be difficult or painful to diagnose using other procedures.
One of the most important things to remember when going in for your MRI is the dress code. You’ll be told before your test to not wear any metal to your procedure. Metal and MRI tests do not mix well. You should alert your doctor of any metal you have inside, such as artificial joints or a pacemaker.
Depending on what part of your body is being scanned, you may find yourself almost completely inside the MRI tube for a test that can last from 15 minutes to over an hour. If you are claustrophobic, make sure your doctor is well aware of it in advance of the test. In some cases, claustrophobia is treated with a sedative; in less severe cases, simply having your favorite background music is enough to reduce anxiety.
The MRI procedure produces images of your scan almost immediately, but it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for radiologists to review them and report back. For more information, check out the infographic below entitled, MRI Preparation: What to Expect. It goes over what will happen before, during, and after your test. From your point of view, there’s nothing in the graphic that should scare you, but there are several things you’ll learn that is very important. And if you have a child that is about to undergo an MRI scan, NationalMRI lists some things you can do to prepare them.