Getting Ready for Your First MRI

It’s completely normal to feel nervous about your first MRI. It’s a new experience that can seem scary at first, but is completely safe for most people! Knowing what to expect will put your mind at ease. 

MRI -- magnetic resonance imaging -- is performed so Dr. David Sudderth can look at your tissues and bones without exposing you to invasive surgery. MRI images are detailed and help Dr. Sudderth diagnose many issues, conditions, and diseases. 

The MRI machine, which looks like a wind tunnel, uses a strong magnetic field and low-energy radio waves. The magnetic field temporarily aligns hydrogen atoms in your body, after which radio waves move them out of alignment. When the radio waves stop, the atoms move on their own and produce radio signals, creating the image. 

Here’s what you’ll do to prepare for an MRI

Here are some things to consider before your appointment: 

Here’s what will happen during an MRI

While the test is happening, you’ll lie in a long, narrow, tube-shaped platform that will move you into the machine. Some MRI machines are open, but most are closed. Depending on the part of your body being scanned, you may only be partially moved into the machine. 

You must stay completely still during the MRI procedure so the image remains unblurred. The technician may pose your body in a position that helps the scan show exactly what your doctor needs to see. Poses, however, usually are not uncomfortable.

Here’s more information about MRI scans. 

MRI risks and side effects 

MRI is a safe diagnostic tool. Because no radiation is involved, scans generally cause no harm to most patients. 

If your scan requires contrast dye -- an injection or drinkable solution -- the risk goes up slightly (a small percentage of people are allergic to the dye). Medication is available for immediate treatment. People with kidney problems are more likely to have problems with the dye than others. 

People with metal implants in their bodies, such as screws, pacemakers, or other devices, have a greater risk of complications during an MRI. If you are pregnant, it’s recommended that you don’t have an MRI.

Dr. Sudderth will discuss your medical history before ordering an MRI and is glad to answer questions and address concerns you may have about the test. 

If you’re interested in an MRI scan, contact Dr. Sudderth by calling 239-936-6778, or use the online scheduling tool.

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