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What to Expect When You Have an MRI

If you’re feeling nervous about getting an orthopedic MRI, you’re not alone. It’s normal to be nervous, but you don’t have to be. At Imaging Partners of St. Peters, our friendly staff will make you as comfortable as possible and allay any fears you might have.

How Do I Prepare for an MRI?

You do not need to do anything special to prepare for an MRI. Unless your doctor says otherwise, you can eat and drink as normal and take your medications.

If you have a fear of confined spaces, it is a good idea to ask your doctor to prescribe something in advance to help you relax during the MRI scan. Be sure and take this medication 30 minutes prior to your appointment. We do not keep any narcotics or relaxation medication at the imaging center.

Please arrive 20 minutes prior to your testing time. You will be given a locker for your belongings and scrubs to wear during the procedure. Metal and electronic objects are not allowed in the procedure room, so please leave your jewelry at home. You will also need to remove hearing aids and hair clips.

Are MRI Scans Safe?

An MRI scan is typically safe for patients with many types of metal implants, including:

  • Artificial heart valves
  • Artificial limbs
  • Metal implant (such as joint replacements)
  • Metal pins, screws, plates, stents, or surgical staples
  • Nerve stimulators
  • Implanted drug infusion device
  • Shrapnel or bullets
  • Permanent cosmetics or tattoos
  • Dentures/teeth with magnetic keepers
  • Medication patch that contains metal foil

However, patients with the following should not have an orthopedic MRI:

  • Internal defibrillator or pacemaker
  • Cochlear implant in the ear
  • Certain clips used on brain aneurysms

Before the MRI, you will need to complete a screening form to make us aware of any implanted objects that could create a health hazard or other problem during an MRI exam.

If you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant, you must inform your referring physician and the radiologist or MRI technologist at our center prior to the procedure.

What Happens during the MRI Scan?

You will lie on a padded exam table and the technician will position your body. He or she will then enter the control room and the table will slide into the MRI machine. You will be asked to remain motionless while the images are taken.

During the procedure, the MRI technologist will be able to speak to you, hear you, and observe you at all times. You will also be able to communicate with the technician via a microphone and should let him or her know if you are experiencing any problems.

An MRI is completely painless, yet the machine will make a loud thumping or humming noise when in use. For your comfort, we provide you with Sirius satellite radio to listen to during your exam.

If your doctor ordered your orthopedic MRI to be conducted with contrast, you should be well-hydrated at the time of the test. A contrast dye can enhance the clarity of the images. After some initial scans have been taken, a technologist will administer the contrast through in intravenous (IV) line in your hand or arm. Once the contrast material has been injected, additional MRI scans will be taken. Doctors may order an MRI with contrast if you have had prior surgery on your lumbar spine, a soft tissue mass, or your brain.

How Long Does an Orthopedic MRI Take?

The length of the test depends on the area being studied and the specifics of the examination. Orthopedic MRI scans can take as little as a few minutes to over one hour. We will let you know ahead of time how long your scan is expected to take.

Orthopedic MRI with Your Comfort and Safety in Mind

Your safety and comfort are our priority at Imaging Partners of St. Peters. For more information on what to expect during an MRI at our imaging facility in St. Peters, MO, call us today at (636) 229-4247. For an MRI appointment, you can call or request an appointment online at your convenience.

Imaging Partners of St. Peters