News + Insights  |  May 15, 2023  | 

MRI: What to Know Before You Go

An MRI scan is an advanced imaging tool that helps doctors see detailed images inside the body.
Here are some useful tips to prepare for your MRI examination:

What is an MRI?

MRI, short for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, utilizes strong magnetic fields and radio waves to generate highly detailed images, aiding in the diagnosis and treatment planning of various medical conditions. MRI is a safe, non-invasive test that doesn’t use ionizing radiation (x-rays). At Wake Radiology, only MRI technologists who are certified work directly with patients to acquire precise images and ensure the successful completion of their exams.

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 undergarments containing metal are not permitted. However, most other types of 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 being imaged will be placed in the center of the machine. For certain exams, patients may need to enter the MRI machine headfirst, while for others, they may 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. The need for MRI contrast depends on the type of exam ordered by the healthcare provider. If required for better detection or diagnosis of potential abnormalities, an IV will be utilized to administer the MRI contrast.
  • You will be provided with a pair of headphones to ensure clear communication with the MRI technologist throughout the entire exam. This ensures that you can communicate any concerns you may have during the procedure.
  • An MRI scan consists of numerous small scans, and it’s important to remain as still as possible while each scan is being acquired.
  • 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 relaxed and comfortable for successful exam completion. Sedation is available during the scan however our team must be notified in advance. A responsible adult driver must stay onsite to drive you home afterward.
  • 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 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, Chapel Hill, Holly Springs, Garner, Fuquay-Varina, Raleigh and Wake Forest. Contact our Scheduling Team at 919-232-4700 to schedule.

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