What is an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)?
An MRI is a test using magnets and radio waves to obtain detailed pictures of organs and tissues within the body. It does not use radiation like a normal x-ray or CT scan.
How Safe is an MRI?
You can have an MRI when you are pregnant, but you should talk to your doctor about it first. An MRI should not be painful. An MRI CANNOT be performed if you have any metal in or on your body, for example hip replacements, screws, or plates. (Please see our
safety tip "MRI Safety.")
How is an MRI Performed?
You will be asked to change into a hospital gown. You will need to remove any metal objects such as hair pins, jewelry, watches, etc.
You will lie on a padded table and slide into a tunnel-shaped machine. You will be able to talk to the staff if you have any questions. They will be in a room next to you, and they are able to see you and talk to you. Tell someone if you are afraid of tight spaces or if you become anxious.
You must lie still during the scan. It can take about 15-60 minutes depending on what part of your body is being scanned. Sometimes a special dye is used to better see the area in question. If they decide to do this, they will insert a small tube called an IV catheter to inject the dye.
The MRI can be noisy with tapping and knocking sounds. This is normal. Ask for earplugs or headphones to help with the noise.
What Happens after the MRI?
Once the MRI is complete, a doctor who is specially trained will read the test. You will be contacted with the results.
If you do not hear back about your test results within a few days, you should contact your doctor. Do not assume it was normal just because you did not hear back.