MRI Safety Reminders for First-Time Patients

Magnetic resonance imaging or MRI is widely used by medical professionals to diagnose a variety of conditions. This machine is especially useful in scanning the brain and spinal cord. When a person is suspected to have tumours, for example, an MRI machine is used to get a clearer image. Before the development of an MRI, it can be difficult to diagnose abnormalities in the spine, bone infections, tumours of the bone and other soft tissue.

Many first-time patients may feel slightly intimidated when undergoing an MRI. Medical professionals advise that it is not as scary as one might assume. It is a painless procedure that can last anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes. There are safety tips before undergoing an MRI scan that a patient must be aware of.

Patient Safety Reminders

The strong magnetic field of the MRI machine may prevent some patients with certain conditions from undergoing the procedure. It’s important that the medical technician is made aware of any pre-existing health conditions before scheduling you for an MRI. In general, you can get an MRI done directly at a hospital or from a private MRI London clinic recommended by your physician. Here are a few of the restrictions for MRI:

  • Patients with a pacemaker
  • Pregnant patients
  • Patients with claustrophobia
  • Patients with implanted drug infusion device such as an insulin pump
  • Patients with shrapnel or bullet wounds
  • Patients with cochlear implants

These are only a few of the restrictions. Keep in mind that any history or possibility of metal compounds being present in the body is a restriction for MRI scans.

What to expect before an MRI

There is little preparation required before an MRI. You can take your medications normally unless otherwise advised by your physician. It’s important to arrive at the clinic early to fill out any forms if necessary. For additional safety, you will be asked to change into a hospital gown and remove all personal belongings especially jewellery.

What to expect during an MRI

The duration of the procedure will vary but on the average may take 45 minutes. You will be asked to lie still during the examination, and depending on the body part being scanned may have to hold your breath for a few seconds. If you feel nervous during the scan, you can communicate with the technologist via a two-way intercom system. You should also expect that there will be a loud banging noise. To minimise the noise, you may be provided with earplugs.

What to expect after an MRI

In cases where a dye is injected for the procedure, the IV will be removed before you go home. In any other scenario, you should not feel any side effects after the procedure and should be ready to go home shortly after. Your physician will get in touch with you with the results.