How to Prep for an MRI

If you have been scheduled for an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan, it is natural to feel a little anxious or unsure about what to expect. MRI scans are painless and non-invasive procedures that help doctors diagnose and monitor various medical conditions. To ensure a smooth and successful MRI experience, here are some essential steps to follow for preparation:

1. Communicate with your healthcare provider: Before your scheduled MRI, it is crucial to inform your doctor about any underlying health conditions, allergies, or previous surgeries. This information will help them determine if any special preparations are required.

2. Inform about pregnancy or implants: If you are pregnant or suspect that you might be, it is vital to notify your doctor in advance. Additionally, inform them if you have any metallic implants, such as pacemakers or artificial joints, as these may interfere with the MRI procedure.

3. Follow dietary restrictions: Most MRI scans do not require any specific dietary restrictions. However, if you are undergoing an abdominal or pelvic MRI, you may be asked to refrain from eating or drinking for a few hours before the procedure to ensure optimal imaging quality.

4. Dress appropriately: It is advisable to wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing. Metal objects, such as jewelry, belts, or clothing with metallic fasteners, should be avoided as they can interfere with the MRI scan.

5. Remove metallic objects: Before entering the MRI suite, you will be asked to remove all metallic objects, including watches, earrings, and hairpins. It is essential to check your pockets for loose change, keys, or any other objects that may contain metal.

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6. Understand the procedure: Familiarize yourself with the MRI procedure; your doctor or radiologist will explain the details and answer any questions you may have. Knowing what to expect will help alleviate anxiety and make the experience more comfortable.

7. Communicate any concerns: If you experience claustrophobia or anxiety in enclosed spaces, inform your healthcare provider beforehand. They may provide relaxation techniques or, in some cases, prescribe medication to help you remain calm during the procedure.

8. Arrange transportation: Depending on the type of sedation or medication used, you may need someone to drive you home after the MRI scan. It is wise to make these arrangements in advance to ensure your safety.

9. Follow instructions: Your healthcare provider will provide specific instructions regarding any medication you need to take or stop before the MRI scan. It is crucial to follow these instructions carefully to ensure accurate results.


1. Will an MRI scan hurt?
No, MRI scans are painless. However, you may experience some discomfort if you have to remain still for an extended period.

2. Can I eat or drink before an MRI scan?
In most cases, you can eat and drink as usual. However, specific instructions may be given for abdominal or pelvic MRI scans.

3. Can I have an MRI if I’m pregnant?
MRI scans are generally safe during pregnancy, but it is important to notify your doctor beforehand.

4. Can I wear makeup during an MRI scan?
Some makeup products may contain metallic components, so it is advisable to remove all makeup before the MRI procedure.

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5. Can I bring someone with me into the MRI room?
In most cases, due to safety concerns and the magnetic field, only the patient is allowed inside the MRI room. However, a technician will remain in constant communication with you throughout the procedure.

6. Can I move during an MRI scan?
It is crucial to remain as still as possible during the MRI scan to obtain clear images. Any movement can affect the quality of the results.

7. How long does an MRI scan take?
The duration of an MRI scan varies depending on the area being imaged. Typically, it takes between 30 minutes to an hour.

8. Can I listen to music during the MRI scan?
Some MRI facilities provide headphones or allow patients to bring their own music to listen to during the procedure to help them relax.

9. Are there any risks associated with MRI scans?
MRI scans are considered safe for most patients. However, the presence of metallic implants or certain medical conditions may pose risks. It is essential to communicate all relevant information to your healthcare provider before the procedure.