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As it is the same for other scanning procedures, the patient needs to get ready as much as possible for the best results. Unless the healthcare professionals say otherwise before the MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) examination, take your standard meals and continue to take your regular medications. You will wear a medical apron before the scan and will be asked to remove eyeglasses, watches, and jewelry.
It is very important to follow the MRI preparation guidelines to ensure that the MRI gives accurate results. The information MRI provides is valuable for diagnosing and monitoring a variety of medical conditions.
In this article, you will read about why preparation is important for MRI scans and what to expect during an MRI procedure. In the following part, you can also read about what to wear and what to leave behind. In the final part, we will t, talk about dietary guidelines before an MRI examination and managing claustrophobia and anxiety during MRI.
Why Preparation Is Important for MRI Scans
An MRI machine is like a long, narrow tube with open ends. The patient lies on a movable table that slides inside the tube. An attendant from the radiology department watches you from the room inside and you can talk to them through a microphone.
If you consider all these factors, for someone who is going for an MRI scan at the hospital, it might be a bit scary. Adding that what you hear from your friends or relatives who have experienced an MRI scan, and the rumors about it, it might be a bit confusing. That’s why you need a good preparation period for an MRI scan for the best possible results from it.
You need also to know about all necessary actions such as what to wear, what to not wear, and what to eat before and after the session as a part of safety precautions and follow-up procedures. As a result, it is important to be ready both physically and psychologically for an MRI scan.
What to Expect During an MRI Procedure
During the MRI scanning procedure, a specialist watches you from another room and communicates via a microphone. For people with claustrophobia, sedatives may be recommended to relieve anxiety. While inside the MRI machine, you will be exposed to a strong magnetic field and directed radio waves, but you will not feel any pain whatsoever.
To get rid of the negative effects of the sounds made by the machine during scanning, tools such as earplugs can be used or music can be turned on.
The duration of an MRI can range from 15 minutes to an hour and requires you to remain still to get clear images. For functional MRI scans, you may be asked to perform simple tasks to map brain activity.
In general, the MRI procedure is safe, non-invasive, and essential for accurate diagnosis. Knowing as much as possible about the process will not only facilitate the operation of the process but will also bring the quality of the results to the highest level.
What to Wear and What to Leave Behind
If you need to have an MRI before a medical procedure and are not sure about what clothes should be preferred for MRI, do not worry. Before an MRI scan procedure, your healthcare specialist will tell you about what to wear and not wear. Some of the tips about the subject can be lined up as below:
- It is recommended to wear jeans, sweatpants, T-shirts and other comfortable clothes.
- Clothing with metal buttons, holes, or zippers is not recommended.
- The person who will have an MR scan procedure should not wear anything over the neck area.
- Friends and family members should not be in the MRI scan area and wait in the guest room.
Remember, the MRI procedure is designed to be as safe and accurate as possible, and following these clothing guidelines helps ensure the best results.
Dietary Guidelines Before an MRI Examination
Unless advised otherwise by qualified healthcare professionals, you are authorized to maintain your usual eating, drinking habits, and medication schedule before an MRI scan. However, there are certain situations where you may need to fast for four hours before the procedure. Following the guidelines ensures accurate imaging and a successful MRI experience. It is always in your best interest to be properly prepared for the scan.
However, some of the conditions that you are not allowed to eat or drink before an MRI scan can be lined up as below:
- Overactive bladder: If you have an overactive bladder, it may feel you like empty it and this can cause bad MRI results.
- Esophageal reflux: If you have esophageal reflux, your healthcare provider may ask you to limit your portions before an MRI scan.
Managing Claustrophobia and Anxiety During MRI
Claustrophobia, characterized by a fear of enclosed spaces and the sensation of being trapped, affects many people. Many individuals with this phobia go to great lengths to avoid confined spaces, but sometimes an MRI becomes necessary for medical diagnosis. To help avoid panic attacks during an MRI, here are some strategies you can consider:
Pre-procedure consultation: Inform the medical staff about your claustrophobia, so they can provide support and discuss possible accommodations.
Sedation: In certain cases, your doctor may recommend a sedative to help you stay calm during the MRI.
Open MRI: Inquire about the availability of open MRI machines, which are less confining and can be more comfortable for claustrophobic individuals.
Distraction Techniques: Bring music or use earplugs to block out MRI noises, and try focusing on a calming visualization or engaging in deep breathing exercises.
Support Companion: Having a trusted friend or family member present can offer emotional support throughout the procedure.