I remember being more nervous about my first MRI than the possible diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. It is important not to avoid it, and just do it. MRI’s can often detect damaged areas in the brain or spinal cord that would be missed by other imaging techniques.
According to the Mayo Clinic:
“Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a technique that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues within your body.
Most MRI machines are large, tube-shaped magnets. When you lie inside an MRI machine, the magnetic field temporarily realigns hydrogen atoms in your body. Radio waves cause these aligned atoms to produce very faint signals, which are used to create cross-sectional MRI images — like slices in a loaf of bread.”
Here are some tips to make the MRI process more enjoyable.
1. Ask your doctor in advance for a sedative if you are claustrophobic or get anxious.
2. Take sedative at least 30 minutes beforehand and arrange to have someone drive you, and hold your hand, if possible.
3. Wear comfortable clothes and no jewelry. Bring earplugs.
4. When you arrive, they will ask you to fill out a lot of paperwork. If the sedative is kicking in, ask your caregiver/driver to help you fill it out. (Sometimes you can have the office fax you the paperwork in advance so you can do it at home.)
5. Change into a robe and remove all jewelry (metal). Wear warm socks, as it is very cold in the room.
6. Once you are in the bright and cold room, they will set you up to go inside the machine.
7. Close your eyes, take deep breaths, and stay very still. (If you move it will take longer).
8. MRIs are very loud. Do your best to drown out the noises.
9. There is an emergency button you can push if you need to come out. Use it if necessary, but know it will make the process longer.
10. Keep breathing; maybe try to rest, despite the noise.
11. It will feel like you are inside the machine forever. It will end eventually, and you will be free to change and go home.
12. Your doctor should have the results in less than 24 hours.
MRIs generally last 40 to 80 minutes. My doctor orders MRI’s twice a year. I’ve been to more than one facility and have found some are nicer, cleaner and more comfortable than others.
How do you survive your MRI’s?