Breadcrumbs Navigation

Home > Services > Radiology and Imaging Services > Prepare for Your Visit > Prepare for an MRI

Prepare for an MRI

Upon arriving at Duke Regional Hospital’s MRI department, you will be greeted by an MRI technologist who will ask a series of questions and have you fill out a screening form.

Leave metal objects at home or give them to the MRI staff for safe keeping when you arrive for the exam. Objects that might be affected by the magnet include watches, coins, keys, bobby pins, hair clips, credit cards and cell phones. Metal flakes or silvers are found in some eye shadows, so avoid wearing eye makeup to your MRI.

After changing into a gown and robe, you will be escorted to the MRI scan room.

What should I tell the MRI staff?

Tell your physician and the MRI staff if you have any objects in your body. This would include a pacemaker, prosthesis, surgical clips, or metal implants. Some implants, such as a pacemaker, may not go into the magnet.

Also, let the technologist know if you work around metal finishing or grinding equipment. Anyone with a history of metal in their eyes may require orbit x-rays to make sure the eyes are free of any metallic particles.

Tell your physician if you are claustrophobic. Sedatives may be ordered for you before your test or you may require IV sedation. Special arrangements must be made before your actual appointment.

What can I expect during an MRI?

Once in the scan room, you will lie on a padded table. You will then be given earplugs to reduce the noise that you will hear. When the scanner is operating you will hear a "thumping" noise and may feel a slight vibration.

While the machine is "thumping" it is very important that you hold still since this is the time the scanner is taking pictures. During the entire examination you will be able to communicate with the technologist.

Some patients are given a contrast agent injection in their arm prior to the MRI. This substance improves the contrast of the pictures. It is unrelated to iodine used for CAT scans and kidney x-rays. Prior to the injection, you will be screened to make sure you are eligible for the contrast.

How will I receive my results?

Your referring physician will receive a report within 24-36 hours after your scan is completed. Your physician will review the results with you.