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How To Prepare For An MRI Scan

Young lady having CT scan in hospital

Undergoing any medical procedure often involves some degree of preparation beforehand. Whether it’s surgery, a dental operation, or a cardiac MRI scan, doctors will advise you to take steps to prepare your body for the procedure ahead of time. 

Medical procedures can make people feel anxious, worried, or even scared. It’s important to go into them with a positive frame of mind, proper preparation will ensure that you are ready and can help to ease any worries you have ahead of time.

If you’re heading in for an MRI scan soon, check out this guide with some top tips on how to prepare for it.

Eat and take medicines normally

When compared to some other medical procedures MRIs require relatively little preparation. Unlike when undergoing surgery, you can continue to eat, drink, and take medications as normal in the lead-up to an MRI scan, unless otherwise advised by your doctor. 

However, there are some unique characteristics of an MRI scan that are worth being aware of, and these can affect how you prepare in lead up to your scan date. 

Remove all metal accessories

MRI machines use incredibly powerful magnets and radio waves to generate a detailed image of the inside of the human body. As a result, metal objects inside the machine are strictly prohibited. These can be picked up by the magnets and can even cause serious injury.

While the specialists present will ensure you don’t take any metal into the machine, it’s advised to check yourself ahead of time to avoid anything being missed.

Remove all jewellery and accessories, including earrings, rings, bracelets, and necklaces. Additionally, check your clothing for metal zips or tags. 

If you have any sort of medical implants like a pacemaker or metal pins, you will not be eligible for an MRI scan. Make sure staff are informed if you have any of these if the possibility of you getting an MRI is being discussed. 

Shave your chest

This point is mainly aimed at male readers. Cardiac MRI scans often use electrocardiogram, or ECG, stickers placed on to the chest to monitor the heart rate while the scan takes place.

These stickers are easy and painless to apply, however, if you have a hairy chest, they can be rather painful to remove.

If you want to spare yourself this discomfort, consider shaving your chest ahead of time to avoid the stickers ripping out any hair.  

Use the toilet

MRI scans can take a long time, sometimes up to several hours. To save yourself from having to stop the scan and delay the procedure, ensure you go to the toilet ahead of time. Stopping the scan can extend the process and even affect the results.

Being told you need an MRI scan can be a worrying time. Alleviate some of the stress by making sure you are fully prepared for the procedure; it will help you feel ready and will avoid any potential delays or problems.