What Can I Expect During an MRI Examination? A licensed technologist will explain the MRI procedure to you when you arrive. You will be asked to remove and store any objects containing metal so that there is no interference with the magnet. These include coins, watches, and other jewelry, hair clips, keys, credit cards, and dentures. Depending on the part of the body to be scanned, you may be asked to change into a gown. You will be asked to lie flat on a padded table.
Some patients, but not all, need an injection of contrast as part of the MRI examination. If your doctor decides that contrast is necessary, a pharmaceutical agent called “Gadolinium” is administered. The Gadolinium contrast is used to make specific organs, blood vessels, or tissue stand out. This helps highlight the structures to better assess for disease or injury. The referring doctor provides Precise MRI with information about each patient’s specific medical condition. The decision to use, or not use an injection of contrast is on a case by case basis, based on all the information, and the body part being examined.
If Gadolinium is necessary, a small needle is inserted into the vein in the arm or hand, and removed immediately after the injection. As with any medication, there is a very slight chance of an allergic reaction. Side effects are very uncommon with Gadolinium.
During the exam you may hear a tapping noise. This is normal and is created when some of the parts of the magnet (gradient coils) are turned on and off, very rapidly, to measure the signal that comes from the patient’s body. The knocking may be loud enough to require ear plugs or through head phones which we provide. During the examination, you will be able to listen to music through the headphones, and to communicate with the technologist at all times via intercom.
It is very important not to move when you are in the magnet, especially while you hear the knocking noise. It is particularly important that you not move the body part being imaged during the study. If you need to stretch a muscle, you may do so in between image acquisition, when the knocking noise has stopped.
You may talk to the technologist, via intercom, at any time during the study. It’s best to talk, however, in between the pictures, to minimize any motion.