Preparing for MRI

Preparing for MRI

The open MRI uses radio waves to produce images of the body while a person is inside a magnetic field.  In order for the test to be successful, follow your doctor’s orders and consider these recommendations.


Make sure that you let your doctor and the imaging center know your entire medical history. If you have any non-removable metal in your body, such as from a pacemaker, bullet fragments, joint replacement, or cochlear implant, you may not be able to have a MRI. The imaging center and your doctor will have to determine whether the test may be done safely. Some tattoos have metal in the ink. Kidney and liver problems may make it unsafe to use contrast agents. In addition, discuss with your doctor the risks if you are pregnant. 

Before the Test

Unless your doctor has advised otherwise, you may eat and drink normally before the test. Bring your ID and insurance cards to the center, along with a copy of your doctor’s order. Be prepared to answer the technologist’s questions about the purpose of your exam. Dress in comfortable clothes that you can remove easily at the center. If asked, refrain from using lotions, deodorant, makeup, and powder. Consider leaving expensive jewelry and underwire bras at home. Before the exam, you will need to change into a gown. You will need to take off glasses, hearing aids, wigs, watches, and dentures. Let your doctor know if tests make you anxious; you may be given some medication to help you remain calm. Meditation and breathing exercises can help. Some patients require sedation. You can request earplugs to block out machine noise. 

The MRI exam provides your doctor with important information to help diagnose and treat your condition. By preparing for your exam and following instructions, you will ensure that test day goes smoothly and the best possible images obtained.

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