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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

One of the best imaging tests available today is called magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI. The images obtained from MRI scans are extremely clear, detailed cross-sectional pictures of soft tissue structures in the body that no other imaging tests can produce. One advantage of MRI is that there is no use of ionizing radiation to create an image. Instead, MRI uses a strong magnetic field and radio frequency waves to obtain images.

How to Prepare for an MRI Scan

Remove all jewelry or anything containing metal prior to the scan. If the exam is of either your abdomen or pelvis, you need to fast 4 to 6 hours before the test. Ask the doctor if you need current lab work done before the exam. If you have claustrophobia, request medication from the doctor to bring with you and take before your exam. If so, you will need someone to drive you home.

Arrive 30 minutes prior to appointment time to register and complete necessary paperwork.

What to Expect from an MRI Scan

You will be placed in a hospital gown and given earplugs and your choice of music. Be aware the MRI machine is quite loud. You will lay on your belly or back on a table that slides into the MRI machine during the test. If your doctor orders exams to be done with contrast, a vein in the arm will be accessed.

You will lie still and be instructed not to move during the test. If your exam is of the abdomen, you will be asked to follow breathing instructions. Results will be sent to the referring physician within 24 to 48 hours.