What to Expect from Your First MRI

open MRI scanner

Your first time getting an MRI can be stressful. An MRI (or Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan is non-invasive and gives doctors detailed images of your internal organs and tissues.

Perhaps you’re dealing with an injury or illness that’s already putting strain on your psyche and the last thing you need to worry about is something as simple as an MRI. Don’t waste your valuable energy worrying about undergoing this routine procedure. Here are a few tips and things to expect before going into your first MRI scan to set your mind at ease.

Start the Day as Normal

Of course, you should always follow your doctor’s instructions but for the most part you should be able to start your day as you normally would. Take your prescribed medication and eat a healthy breakfast before your appointment. Leave expensive jewelry at home as you’ll be required to remove everything before the MRI. But overall, there aren’t many restrictions before undergoing an MRI scan.

The Scan Will Take A While

Each scan will take about 45 minutes to an hour and you’ll be required to remain still for the entire MRI. You’ll be able to communicate with the MRI technician but perhaps you’ll want to bring music, an audio book, or to prepare a meditation practice for your session. If you’re claustrophobic, let your doctor know and look into open MRI scanner options. And don’t forget to use the bathroom beforehand!

An Injection May Be Required

In order to see the proper contrast from your MRI images, you may need to have an intravenous injection. It shouldn’t cause pain and you should always let the technician know if you’re experiencing any discomfort. To deal with claustrophobia, some patients may also be offered a sedative in which case you’ll need a ride home afterward.