Diagnostic imaging, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), and computerized tomography (CT), are invaluable for the visual images they create. These images are used to help confirm diagnoses and monitor the progression of illnesses and the progress of treatments.
We know there is a time and place for each of these imaging tests. That’s why Dr. Ebrahim Delpassand and our expert team at Excel Diagnostics & Nuclear Oncology Center in Houston, Texas, offer a wide variety of imaging tests to meet your needs.
Below, we highlight one particular test 一 the MRI 一 and what you can do to prepare for it.
Preparing for your first MRI
There are two main types of MRI tests: a standard MRI and an MRI with contrast. Depending on which type of MRI you need, your preparation steps may vary.
Getting ready for a standard MRI
Preparing for a standard MRI is simple and straightforward, but you will need to avoid wearing jewelry or any clothing with metal. This includes clothing with zippers, metal buttons, or bras with underwires. For your convenience, you can change into a gown before your test. Before your appointment, it’s a good idea to take off all metal jewelry and store it safely at home. This includes all piercings, rings, bracelets, and watches.
Unless directed otherwise, you can continue to take any prescribed medications as directed, and you may eat and drink normally.
Prior to your MRI, please alert our team if you have any condition that would interfere with the strong magnetic energy field used during an MRI. This includes having a pacemaker, having an implanted drug infusion device, having artificial heart valves, and prior exposure to shrapnel or metal fragments in your eye or other parts of your body.
Getting ready for an MRI with contrast
An MRI with contrast is like a standard MRI, but you will be given a contrast agent prior to your MRI. Gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) contain metals that interact with the magnetic field, which then produces highly detailed visuals of your organs and other soft tissues.
GBCAs can be delivered orally or intravenously. Depending on which type of contrast you have, your preparation steps may vary. For example, if you take an oral contrast agent, you may need to avoid eating and drinking for a specified length of time prior to your MRI. Rest assured, if you need an MRI with contrast, our team will provide detailed instructions to help you prepare.
As with a standard MRI, you should remove all metal and jewelry prior to your MRI.
What to expect during your MRI
Regardless of whether you need a standard MRI or an MRI with contrast, the process during the actual MRI is similar. You can expect to lay on the padded MRI table, and you will hear loud, knocking noises. This is normal, and you can wear headphones to reduce some of the loudness.
An MRI lasts about 30 minutes, but this time frame can vary depending on which body part is getting scanned.
To learn more about MRI and other imaging tests, call Excel Diagnostics & Nuclear Oncology Center today at 713-781-6200. You can also schedule an appointment at our Houston, Texas, office through our online form.