Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses a large magnet and radio waves to look at organs and structures inside your body. Health care professionals use MRI scans to diagnose a variety of conditions, from torn ligaments to tumours. MRIs are very useful for examining the brain and spinal cord.
Before you get a scan;
- Your doctor will let you sign a consent form after explaining the procedure, make sure you understand and ask all questions before you sign.
- Inform your doctor if you are pregnant of suspecting a pregnancy.
- Tell your doctor if you have pieces of metal in your body or suspensions that you might have metal in your body like shrapnel or bullet injury or if you are a welder.
- Inform your doctor of any metal or electronic devices in your body, such as a cardiac pacemaker or a metal artificial joint.
- Jewellery and other accessories should be left at home, if possible, or removed prior to the MRI scan. Because they can interfere with the magnetic field of the MRI unit, metal and electronic items are not allowed in the exam room. In addition to affecting the MRI images, these objects can become projectiles within the MRI scanner room and may cause you and/or others nearby harm. These items include:
- Watches, credit cards and hearing aids, all of which can be damaged
- Pins, hairpins, metal zippers and similar metallic items, which can distort MRI images
- removable dental work
- pens, pocket knives and eyeglasses
- body piercings
The entire examination is usually completed within one hour but may occasionally take longer.