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  • Frequently Asked Questions

    • Is any special preparation required?
      No. No preparation is required for adults. In an older child who does not require sedation, no preparation is required. Younger children who may need sedation may not have anything by mouth for 6 hours before the test. At the time the exam is scheduled, parents are given more specific instructions if their child is to have sedation. For your convenience, please wear comfortable clothing.
    • What time should I come in and where should I go?
      Plan to arrive 30 minutes before the time the exam is scheduled. Please report directly to the MRI department.
    • How long will the exam take?
      The average exam takes 45 minutes. It may take more or less time depending on what part of the body is being studied. 
    • I'm claustrophobic. How far do I go into the scanner?
      In order to get the best pictures possible, the part of the body being studied has to be in the middle of the scanner. Thus, if you are having a brain MRI, your head will have to be in the middle of the scanner. If you are having an ankle MRI, your ankle will be in the scanner, but your head will not be. If you have severe claustrophobia, ask your doctor for some medication to help you relax during the scan. Please have someone accompany you who can drive you home if you do take any medication.
    • Do I really have to hold still?
      Yes. An MRI exam is composed of a series of images. Each series takes 3 to 5 minutes. Any movement during this time causes the pictures to be "blurry" and limits the radiologist's ability to interpret the study. Also, we focus the exam on a specific part of the body. If you move, the area we are focusing on may no longer be in the proper position.
    • I have metal in my body from prior surgery. Can I have an MRI?
      Most people who have metal in their body after surgery can have an MRI. For example, patients with hip or knee replacements can have an MRI 6 weeks after surgery. Other implanted devices require less time after surgery. Certain devices can never go into the MRI machine. Heart pacemakers, and some implanted pumps and nerve stimulators cannot go in the MRI scanner. Some brain aneurysm clips (particularly older ones) also cannot go into the scanner. If you have had any prior surgery, you must let the technologist know prior to the scan. Also, if there is any chance there may be metal in any part of your body from a prior injury or from grinding metal, please inform the technologist prior to the scan.
    • How and when will I get the results of the exam?
      After the scan is finished, one of our board-certified radiologists will interpret the study and send a report to your doctor within 24 hours.

    For more information about MRI at The Miriam Hospital, call 401-793-4448 or e-mail