If you ask a non-medical professional public member to describe an MRI scan, they are likely to reply with words such as ‘tunnel’ , ‘dark’ and ‘claustrophobic.’ For someone who has an upcoming appointment for an MRI, it is entirely natural to be experiencing feelings of anxiety and even dread, but the best way to dispel these emotions is to learn as much as you can about the procedure.
The most important thing to know right off the bat is that you will not be ensconced (as the metaphorical general public we asked wrongly believe) in a dark tunnel but instead will lie down in a doubly open-ended cylinder comfortably still with very visible light at your head and feet. Here is everything else you need to know before your MRI scan.
Booking Your Own MRI
If you have a high deductible medical insurance plan, are denied access to imaging by your insurance network or simply do not currently possess healthcare insurance, you are still able to undergo an MRI imaging scan. Every American citizen should be afforded the option of an MRI scan when necessary, regardless of their financial situation or healthcare plan and professional, established and experienced medical facilities exist that offer affordable and utterly thorough MRI scans.
How Do I Prepare?
There is no need to prepare for an MRI scan, a fact which should go at least some way to alleviate your anxiety. Unless otherwise instructed by your medical doctor, do everything as you normally would do before your appointment. All you need to do before the scan is to change into a gown and robe, which will of course be provided, and remove any accessories on your person such as belts, jewelry and piercings – it is important to not take any metal in with you as the MRI machine uses strong magnets. You will also be given a checklist to complete to ensure your radiographer is fully aware of your relevant medical history and personal circumstances.
The Scan Itself
Once you are changed into your gown and robe, your radiographer will discuss the entire process with you and ensure you understand what is going to happen and when. Next, your radiographer will lead you to the MRI scanner table, lay you down and ensure you are in as comfortable a position as possible.
The main things you should expect during the scan itself are:
- A continuous loud noise
- A slight increase in overall body temperature
- Zero risk of radiation
- Zero use of X-rays
- A slight possibility of repeating the scan if not enough data is detected the first time
The scan will last approximately between fifteen and ninety minutes and the exact duration is individually specific. Your radiographer will be able to advise on a more accurate timeframe on the day. MRI scans are entirely painless and entirely safe and all you need to do is lie back, rest your body and let the scanner do its job and you will be back in the car before you know it!