Preparation for Scan
Welcome. You need a MRI or MRA. Our physicians and technologists are dedicated to providing highly skilled and compassionate care for you and your family. We understand that you may be apprehensive about your procedure. We hope the following information will be helpful to you as you prepare.
No outpatient MRIs or MRAs are scheduled at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center.
Click here to view a list of all MRI/MRA Scan locations within the Conemaugh Health System
We want to make your experience as comfortable as possible. If you have any questions or concerns that are not answered here, please do not hesitate to call your physician or the location where your test will be done.
Before your Scan
You will be given specific instructions during scheduling about any special preparations you need and what time to arrive. You may need to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your test. Additional information can be found at www.lhai.org.
If you have questions about your insurance coverage or pre-certification, call your insurance company. If you are not covered by insurance, please make arrangements for payment by calling the business office where you are having your scan done.
Here is some general information about MRI Scans.
Generally no special preparation is required. You may eat and drink unless you are scheduled for an abdominal or pelvic scan. Then you must fast for 4 – 6 hours. You may take your meds with a sip of water. Check with your physician about any diabetic medications you are on.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) allows your doctor to look inside the body without the use of x-rays. It uses a large magnet, radio waves, and a computer to produces 2 or 3-D images. A Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) is a specialized MRI is used to create images of the blood vessels. These images can be seen on the screen.
Although there is no radiation exposure please let your physician or technologist know if you are pregnant or think you might be.
The magnetic fields used are extremely powerful. For your safety, you will be questioned about any possible metal in your body. If you do have metal in your body it may prevent you from having the MRI/MRA. You may need to have an x-ray of your eyes to make sure there is no longer any metal present. Do not assume that your physician’s office knows about any of the following items and will report it. You must alert the MRI office.
- Surgery in the last two months
- History of working with metal
- History of metal in your eye, even if it was removed
- Have shrapnel, bullets or BB’s anywhere in your body
- Have pacemaker, implantable defibrillator or cardioverter
- Have aneurysm clips
- Have embolization coil
- Have heart valve replacement
- Have cardiac stents
- Have implants of any kind – dental, breast, penile, or ear
- Have hearing devices of any kind
Some other questions asked may change the preparation involved with the MRI. You may need to take additional medication prior to the exam.
- Any previous problems you have had with a MRI or MRA
- If you are claustrophobic or have a fear of tight enclosed spaces
- If you are allergic to contrast dye, shellfish or iodine
- Height and weight
If you need to cancel for any reason please give at least 24 hours notice.
The Day of your Scan
Wear loose-fitting, clean, comfortable clothing without metal. No zippers or metal snaps. Don’t wear mascara. Don’t wear any metal objects such as belt buckles, jewelry, or hairpins.
Children under 18 years of age or incapacitated adults must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. You may be accompanied by one adult family member or friend. Children should not accompany adults having any procedures.
Please bring any order that your physicians office provided for you. If you were not contacted by pre-certification please bring your identification and insurance cards.
Please bring a list of your medicines and allergies. Because emergencies can cause delays, you may have to wait. Please bring reading material or something else to do in case you have to wait.
When you arrive you will sign in at the desk and go to the waiting area before being taken to a changing room. You may be given a gown to change into if you have any metal on your clothing. It is very important to remove any metal objects, such as belt buckles, jewelry, hairpins, glasses, hearing aids and dentures. There are lockers available for you belongings.
Healthcare professionals will be available in this area to make you comfortable and to answer your questions. Your safety is the number one priority.
The staff may ask you the same questions several times; they will ask your name, birth date, what procedure you are having done, your medications and your allergies. Repeating questions verifies and re-verifies very important information to ensure that your time during the procedure is as safe as possible.
During the Scan
You will be taken into the MRI Suite once you have no metal present on your body.
You will meet the technologist when you are taken into the procedure room. They will explain everything that is happening. You will be helped you onto the table, positioned correctly and possibly secured by a strap which helps prevent you from moving. Even slight movement blurs the results. Generally you will lie on your back with your head in a headrest. Earplugs or headphones and music are available. Although you won’t feel anything, you will hear knocking, thumping and other noises.
The table you are on will move into the machine. The closed unit looks like a tunnel with an opening on both ends to allow air and light inside. Your body may or may not be completely inside the machine.
The MRI tech controls the test in another room where they can still see and hear you. There is an intercom and you are given a call button. Let them know if you need assistance. They can pull the table out of the scanner at any time.
As the MRI scans your body, you will hear knocking, thumping and other noises from the machine. Relax, but don’t move your body. If they need to change your position between series they will pull the table out of the machine and reposition you before sliding you back in on the table. Your time in the MRI scan will vary and may last several hours depending on the procedure you are having done.
After your Scan
Once the technologist has all the images the physician requires, they will slide the table out of the machine and assist you off of the table. Your IV is removed if you had one. You can get dressed and leave immediately. If you had a change in diet before the scan, you may resume your normal diet.
The technologist can not discuss results with you. The MRI scan will be reviewed by a Radiologist and the results will be sent to the doctor who ordered your exam. Your results will be reviewed with you at your next physician’s office visit. If your test was ordered STAT by your physician, the technician will alert the Radiologist and clerical staff to see that your doctor receives your results as soon as possible.