How should I prepare for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)?

Here a few tips:

  • If you have the slightest anxiety about the walls closing in, or being claustrophobic, ask if the facility is an "Open MRI."  Open MRI's are usually a lot less anxiety producing if you don't like being closed in.
  • Ask how long the test will take when you schedule. Don't assume that everything can be done as quickly as a chest x-ray.
  • Leave jewelry home. Jewelry interferes with most imaging tests so why take a chance yours might get lost?
  • Avoid wearing any clothing with metal because it will show up on the image. This means no bras with metal hooks or underwire. Wear a sports bra instead or none at all. For men, no boxers with snaps.
  • Keep yourself distracted. Bring your favorite CD. Today all MRIs have sound systems and headphones or speakers.

Finally, speak up! Medical imaging departments are cold because the machines often generate a lot of heat. If you're lying on the rock hard metal table in a thin gown, it's likely you'll be cold and won't be very comfortable.  Most tests can be done through blankets so make sure you ask for one (or two) if you're chilly.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.