1. What is the Exam like?
2. Will I feel anything during the scan?
3. Will I need an injection?
4. Are there any reasons I should not have the scan done?
5. Do I need to prepare for the exam?
6. How long does the MRI scan take?
7. What if I am claustrophobic?
The exam usually takes 30 to 60 minutes. It consists of several image exposures lasting 2 to 5 minutes each.
You will be asked to remove your make-up, eyeglasses, watch, jewelry, credit cards, dentures, hearing aids and any other metallic objects you are carrying.
The technologist will position you on a cushioned table. A device called a ‘coil’ may be placed over or under you. This helps the MRI system create the clearest possible image of your body. When you are comfortably positioned, the table will move into the space in the centre of the magnet. The technologist will then step into the control area and will stay in constant contact with you both visually and through an intercom. As the exam proceeds, you will hear a thumping sound for several minutes at a time. Other than the sound, the MRI causes no bodily sensation.
Relax and try to lie as still as possible. Any movement during the scan could blur the image. When the exam is done, the technologist will help you off the table.
The MRI scan is completely painless and comfortable. In certain cases, an injection of a contrast agent may be used to better visualize the area of interest as specified by your physician. The contrast material used during an MRI scan typically has few or no side effects.
In most cases an MRI exam does not require any injections. In some situations, a substance known as a contrast agent may be needed to enhance the ability of the MRI to see into your body. All contrast agents are considered safe.
There are a few conditions which would prevent you from being eligible for an MRI scan. They include:
- Neuro-stimulator (tens-unit)
- Ferrous intracranial aneurysm clips
- Implanted drug infusion device
In addition, the following conditions may affect your scan. Please let the technologist know if you have any of the following:
- Metal implants
- Surgical staples
- Foreign metal objects in eye, or removed from eye
- If you have ever been a sheet metal worker or machinist
- Shrapnel, bullets, or bullet wounds
- Intrauterine devices (IUD)
- If you are pregnant
For a full list of contraindications please click here.
There is no special preparation required and you may eat and drink normally prior to the scan.
The exam can last from 30 minutes to usually no more than one hour.
CMI utilizes an Open Bore high field MRI scanner. Our scanner permits more than sixty percent of all scan to be conducted with the patient’s head outside the magnet which greatly eases the feeling of claustrophobia. However, very anxious patients and small children may be given a sedative to help them relax and lie still during the exam. If you think you will require a sedative, please discuss this with your physician and arrange it prior to your appointment.