What is a MRI?
A MRI is the short way of saying Magnetic Resonance Imaging. The MRI is a long magnet that takes pictures of inside your body of things that an X-Ray cannot see like your brain and heart. Our bodies have natural magnets in them that send signals to the MRI machine. The MRI takes the signals from the body and shows a special type of picture of the area your doctor wants to look at.
Why do I need to have an MRI?
The MRI takes pictures of inside your body to help the doctors see what is happening inside your body.
What does a MRI machine look like?
The MRI machine looks like a long tunnel with an opening on both ends. There is a bed that moves up and down, it also moves into and out of the tunnel. There are also lights in inside the MRI. The opening into the MRI is big circle.
What happens when I have a MRI?
A porter will come and bring you to the area where you will have the MRI. A technologist (the person who will take the pictures) will greet you and explain what will happen.
You will then get on a bed that moves in and out of the tunnel. Sometimes the technologist will use a special soft belt, like a safety belt to help keep you from moving around. (If you move around when the pictures are being taken, the pictures will be very fuzzy and they will have to retake the pictures. This makes the test much longer then it has to be.) You will also be given a headset to put over your ears while the test is happening. When the MRI is taking pictures, it is very loud. You may hear sounds like knocking, a jack hammer and whirling, this is just the way the machine works. The headset they give you will help you from hearing the sounds, plus if you would like to listen to music during the test, the technologist can put on a CD for you. You will also be able to hear the technologist talking to you through the headset. They will give you a buzzer in your hand that has a button on it, if you need anything from them while the test is happening, you can push the button, and this will let the technologist know that you want to talk to them. When you are ready for the test, the technologist will go into another room, put on your music for you to listen to and watch you from a window. This is where she will be using a computer to tell the MRI to take the pictures. This test can be can be from 30 mins to over an hour. Once the pictures have been taken you are able to go back to your room.
What will the MRI feel like?
The MRI will not hurt. The sounds it makes while the pictures are being taken are very loud. The earplugs and headset they give you helps you to not hear the loud sounds. It is hard having to stay still for a long time, it may help if you close your eyes during the test and try to fall asleep. Remember to lie still so they can get a clear picture. Thinking about your favourite thing to do may help you sit still.
Preparing for the test.
Your nurse will give you the information you need to help you get ready to have your MRI. The nurse may also ask you some questions before the test to help you get ready. The MRI machine uses a magnet to take the pictures, so remember not to wear any jewelry or any clothes with any metal on it like buttons and zippers. You are able to eat and drink before your test.
If you have any questions about the test, always ask!