News + Insights  |  May 15, 2023  | 

MRI: What To Know Before You Go

MRI is an advanced imaging tool that can provide essential details and visualization of a specific health concern or injury. Here are helpful tips when preparing for your MRI exam.

What is an MRI?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) combines a powerful magnet with an advanced computer system and radio waves to produce clear, detailed images of your body. It’s useful to study all parts of the body: brain, spine, breasts, joints and internal organs. MRI is a safe, non-invasive test that doesn’t use ionizing radiation (x-rays). At Wake Radiology, only certified MRI technologists work with patients to obtain detailed images and successfully complete their exam.

Safety Check List

After checking in, a technologist will review the MRI Safety Checklist with you. This is required of every patient before entering the MRI scan room. It is important to disclose any implantable device or metal that is in or outside of your body, like aneurysm clips, pacemakers, cochlear implants, insulin pumps, neurostimulators or any injury to your eyes involving metal slivers or shavings.

You will change into scrubs or a gown. To ensure a safe exam, all clothing must be removed as well as the following:

  • All outer clothing, including shoes
  • Bras or any under garment that could have metal in it. Most underwear may be worn.
  • Glasses
  • Jewelry – watch, earrings, necklace, bracelets, etc.
  • Hair pins, barrettes or other hair accessories containing metal
  • Purses, wallets, cell phones

Your MRI Exam

  • A technologist will position you to get the best possible images of your body. The area that’s being imaged will be placed in the center of the magnet. Some exams require patients to go into the MRI machine head first, while others enter feet first. A plastic coil may be placed around the area of your body that will be imaged. The coil is a plastic framework that cradles the head, joint or body during the exam and helps us obtain better quality images. Depending on the type of exam that is ordered, you may need an MRI contrast material to further detect or diagnose potential abnormalities. If so, an IV will be used to administer the MRI contrast.
  • You’ll receive a pair of headphones to ensure you can hear the MRI technologist during the entire exam and communicate if there is any concern. A MRI scan is made up of small scans and you’ll need to remain as still as possible while images are being taken.
  • Our MRI technologists have extensive experience in reducing patient stress, worry and anxiety during an MRI. We understand how important this imaging procedure is and we ensure patients are comfortable so the exam can be completed. If you require sedation for your MRI exam, please notify our team. A responsible adult driver must remain onsite to drive you home.
  • During the MRI, you will hear knocking or buzzing sounds from the machine. These sounds only last while images are being taken. Your technologist will communicate with you after each scan. Once the exam is complete, you can change into your clothes and you’ll be free to go.

Your Results

Your MRI will be interpreted by one of our subspecialty trained radiologists for interpretation. They will compare your current images with any previous exams, if available. This helps identify changes that may factor into a diagnosis. Radiology reports are immediately available through your patient portal and may be viewed before you meet with the doctor who ordered your exam. We recommend talking with your doctor to fully understand the diagnosis and information.

Schedule Your MRI

MRI appointments are available at our offices in Cary, Garner, Fuquay-Varina, Raleigh and Wake Forest. Contact our Scheduling Team at 919-232-4700 to schedule.

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