Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging technique used to produce detailed images of the inside of your body. An MRI produces clear images using a powerful computer, magnetic energy, and radio waves, but they don’t use X-ray technology. They are often used to help diagnose certain conditions, including strokes, cancer, brain tumors, vascular disease, spinal conditions, multiple sclerosis, and aneurysms.
If you’re scheduled for an upcoming MRI here at Excel Diagnostics & Nuclear Oncology Center in Houston, Texas, it's important to prepare for the procedure to ensure accurate results.
While we provide you with detailed instructions based on the type of MRI you need, here’s a general overview of how you can best prepare.
Follow all of our preparation instructions carefully
Depending on why you need an MRI, you may have an MRI with or without contrast. When you have an MRI with contrast, you’ll receive an injection of a special contrast dye. The dye helps to highlight specific organs or tissues to further improve the quality of the images. If you need an injection of contrast dye, we may advise you not to eat or drink for a certain number of hours before the MRI.
Whether you need dye or not, we provide you with specific instructions on how to prepare for your MRI.
We also take the time to ensure you understand the instructions and answer any questions you may have. Part of our preprocedure consultation is to ensure that an MRI is right for you. Let us know if you have any metal implants, artificial joints, pacemakers, or any other implanted medical devices as these may make you ineligible for an MRI.
Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing on the day of your MRI. Avoid wearing clothing with metal zippers, buttons, or snaps as these can interfere with the imaging. You may be asked to wear a hospital gown for the procedure.
In general, it’s best to avoid applying any lotion, perfume, or deodorant prior to an MRI. That’s because there’s a small chance that the products contain metal. However, we encourage you to bring a bag of your toiletries, and you’re more than welcome to freshen up after your MRI.
Avoid eating before the procedure
If you are having an MRI of your abdomen or pelvis, you may be asked not to eat or drink anything for several hours before the procedure. This is to ensure that your stomach is empty, and the images are clear.
Remove all metal objects
Metal objects can interfere with the MRI imaging, so you will be asked to remove any metal objects you are wearing. This includes all jewelry and body piercings, wrist watches, eyeglasses, and hearing aids. Skip the hair pins and any hair ties that have an elastic clip. Either wear your hair down or use a fabric-only hair tie.
Inform the technologist of any medications
Let the technologist know of any medications you are taking, especially if you are taking medication for diabetes or have kidney problems. Some medications can interfere with the MRI imaging, so it's important to let the technologist know.
The MRI procedure is painless, but some people may feel anxious or claustrophobic inside the MRI machine. In addition to the small testing space, it can also be loud.
Before your MRI, create a list of calming or relaxing strategies to use during your MRI. Examples include:
- Practicing deep breathing (shallow breathing can intensity feelings of anxiety)
- Practice guided imagery
- Listen to music
- Wear earplugs
- Try counting (count by multiples, count as high as you can until you don’t want to count any more, etc.)
- Focus on a future event, such as a birthday party or a special family gathering
It may also help to know that the technician can still hear you when you’re getting your MRI, so if you have a concern or a question, they’ll be able to respond to you.
Questions? If you have questions about an upcoming MRI, or if you need to schedule an appointment, give us a call at 713-781-6200. You can also try our online contact form to book your appointment.