MRI is painless and requires no physical preparation (such as fasting) but it can be intimidating if you aren't prepared for it. It is helpful and reassuring to know what to expect. When you arrive for the scan, metallic objects and credit cards are removed because of the magnetic field. You will also be asked if you have a metal implant in your body. You will be given a hospital gown and you may be asked to pass through a metallic detection device similar to those used at airport security checkpoints. Then you will be placed on the scanner bed, which is rolled into a short tunnel within the center of the scanner's magnet. During the scan, you can breathe normally but must lie perfectly still. You will be able to hear and talk with a technician during the entire procedure. There are no unwanted physical side effects to be concerned about. Psychologically, however, it's worth being prepared for the following:

Efforts will be made to make you feel comfortable and relaxed - if you make vour needs known. Some people report that they asked for and received earphones to listen to music. A small pillow could be requested to reduce back discomfort. Very often a buzzer is provided to push if you need to go to the bathroom. Most important, remember the technician is always there for you to talk to.

Most patients report that although "MRIs are no picnic, they're really not uncomfortable," although it does take a lot of patience!


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