Useful Tips

Proper preparation for MRI: how to prepare for the study


MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a fairly complex, but moreover, completely safe and painless diagnostic method. It is MRI that is considered one of the most accurate and informative methods that allow for a short time to compile a complete picture of the disease.

In most cases, MRI does not require any special preparation, unlike many other methods. Preparation for MRI consists in refusing to eat 4-5 hours before the procedure and collecting all the necessary documents that you should take with you (referral for diagnosis, extract from the medical history, results of previous tests and examinations). It is not necessary to specially prepare for MRI, limiting yourself in eating and drinking, as well as taking medications.

However, there are cases that require more careful preparation. So, for example, preparation for the study of MRI of the abdominal cavity should be carried out on an empty stomach, best of all - in the morning. 2-3 days before the scheduled date of the examination, it is necessary to exclude from the diet all products that can cause increased gas formation in the intestines (fresh vegetables, milk, black bread, carbonated drinks, legumes, and also confectionery). At the same time, activated charcoal and enzyme preparations should be taken, which help to reduce gas formation.

In order to prepare for MRI of the pelvis, you should drink 2-3 glasses of water an hour before the examination. This is done so that during the diagnosis, the bladder remains full. MRI renders hollow organs worse, and filling the bladder improves imaging. In addition, women are not recommended to have pelvic MRI during menstruation.

Preparation for magnetic resonance imaging with contrast includes tests for suspected allergies. This is done in order to avoid the development of an unforeseen allergic reaction to the contrast medium during the procedure. It should also be noted that MRI with contrast is performed only in the direction of a doctor.

Immediately before the MRI procedure, the patient needs to get rid of all the metal elements on the clothes and on the body. In order to properly prepare for MRI, you should take care of having comfortable, replaceable clothes in which the patient will undergo a diagnosis. Best of all, if it will be a spacious pajamas or a bathrobe without "zippers", buttons and buttons. In some clinics, patients are given disposable pajamas.

Going to an MRI, you should remove all jewelry from yourself, do not wear glasses and watches, get rid of piercing elements. Women are not recommended to use cosmetics, as some cosmetics contain metal particles.

In the cabinet where the tomograph is installed, you can not bring any electronics, as well as plastic cards - they can be damaged by the action of a magnetic field.

If there are any electronic or metal implants in the patient’s body, as well as metal particles that cannot be removed (bullets, fragments, pins, etc.), it is necessary to inform the doctor in advance, even before he prescribes examination. An MRI scan is not recommended if you have these items - instead, your doctor may recommend computed tomography, a method that is not sensitive to the presence of metal in the patient’s body.

You should also notify your doctor about the presence of tattoos on your body, as some tattoos are performed using metal-based paints. MRI can cause skin irritation at the site of the tattoo.

To identify metal particles in the body, it is often recommended to undergo a metal detector examination before diagnosis.

When do you need training?

It depends on what part of the body will be involved during the procedure. Almost always, this test does not require special preparatory measures. One of the important conditions is the refusal to eat several hours before the procedure, as well as the provision of all necessary documents. Be sure to take along a referral, an extract from the medical history, fresh test results, and a passport.

In some situations, the patient still has to carefully prepare. For example, if the abdominal cavity is subject to testing, then it is necessary to go on an MRI on an empty stomach. Therefore, it is advisable to sign up for this research method in the morning. Also, for a couple of days, it is worth excluding products from the menu that can cause fermentation in the intestine or increased gas formation. This list includes fresh vegetables, brown bread, legumes, sweets, sodas, milk.

In parallel, the doctor may prescribe the use of enzymes or activated carbon to reduce the likelihood of gas formation.

Basic rules for preparing for an MRI

And now we list the main points that should be taken into account by everyone who is faced with this procedure:

  • If the body has a piercing, then it can distort the results. Therefore, before the study, it is necessary to remove such jewelry for a while.
  • Cosmetics on the skin and nails are also undesirable. The fact is that if the composition includes metal components, then this factor can negatively affect the accuracy of the results.
  • The composition of the clothes on the patient does not matter, since before an MRI you will most likely be offered to wear a special gown.
  • If there is permanent makeup, it is important to notify the doctor in advance. Some dyes include metals that will begin to heat up when exposed to a scanner.
  • A mobile phone, tablet and other gadget will fail if it gets into the tomograph field. This means that these devices must be left behind the door.
  • If the test involves the introduction of contrast based on iodine, it is very important to know in advance whether you have an allergic reaction to this component. Otherwise, there is a likelihood of a worsening of the condition and the occurrence of a reaction to a contrast medium.
  • When an MRI is required for a pregnant woman, the procedure is only necessary if this need is higher than the undesirable consequences for the child. During the study, wave processes affect blood circulation. Therefore, if it is possible to postpone this event until delivery, it is worth doing it. As well as warning the doctor about his situation.
  • Patients with chronic diseases must notify the doctor about this. So, in case of kidney disease, the introduction of contrast is contraindicated.
  • A lot of people begin to get nervous in confined spaces, and there is a category of patients suffering from claustrophobia. For such a group, it is advisable to introduce a sedative before going to the tomograph.
  • In the presence of dentures, this is also necessarily reported to the doctor. In this case, the specialist will configure the device with some adjustments. If the structures are removable, then it is worth removing them, especially if the brain is subject to scanning.

In some cases, a preliminary x-ray examination may be prescribed before an MRI, for example, if the patient is not sure whether there are metal elements in his body. So, part of a bullet in a person’s body under the influence of a tomograph can be destroyed and damage neighboring tissues.

Can I drink before an MRI?

You should refrain from drinking coffee, as this drink has a diuretic effect. The study lasts long enough and stopping the scanner is not recommended.

Can I eat before an MRI?

As a rule, it is allowed to eat food before the study. The only condition if the event involves the introduction of a contrast medium. In this case, food may distort the results of the examination. The best option would be a light breakfast.

There are a number of situations where the procedure is carried out on an empty stomach. It all depends on the organ under investigation. Therefore, it is advisable to check with the doctor this issue.

Can I take medicine before MRI?

As a rule, if a patient takes medications prescribed by a doctor, this is not a prohibition for testing. But you should first consult and tell the name of the drug that you are taking.

There are certain substances that, under the influence of a tomograph, can negatively affect the functioning of internal organs.

Can I take alcohol before an MRI?

Obviously, alcohol is not compatible with scanning. But there are situations when a tomographic examination is carried out on an emergency basis, and the day before the patient took a fair portion of alcohol.

The rules state that drinking alcohol is permissible at least two days before the start of the scan. An even larger break should be if vascular or brain testing is needed.

When alcohol enters the body, it dilates the blood vessels, after which they become dehydrated and narrowed. Similar circulatory problems can give incorrect results.

MRI preparation depending on the organ being examined

So, in some cases, no special preparation is required before magnetic resonance imaging. But there are organs whose scanning should be carried out after certain preparatory actions:

  • Abdomen. It is supposed to abstain from food and drinks 4-5 hours before the scan. The fact is that an important condition in this case is a full gall bladder.
  • Pelvic organs. No preparatory measures required.
  • Urinary tract. It will take 1 liter of fluid an hour before the study to fill the bladder. Female patients should not be scanned during critical days.
  • Spine and other organs. No special conditions. The main thing is complete immobility for a long time.

As you can see, no complicated actions are required before magnetic resonance imaging. But if you have even the slightest doubt about this issue, you should definitely notify your doctor about this.

What should an MRI doctor warn about?

Be sure to tell the doctor before the examination if you are pregnant, if any metal structures, grafted implants or electronic devices, and especially a pacemaker, are present in your body. In the latter case, the passage of MRI is contraindicated. During pregnancy, you may be advised to postpone the examination or choose another possible method, since the effect of the magnetic field on the fetus is not fully understood.

Before undergoing the study, be sure to remove all electronic and metal objects from you (even if they contain a small amount of metal) and put on a dressing gown or dress without metal zippers. You should also remove all accessories - from watches, jewelry and hairpins, to the denture, hearing aid or wig.

As the name implies, the magnetic resonance imaging procedure is based on the action of a magnetic field and the resonance of atoms, and the metal can disrupt the magnetic field, thereby distorting the resulting images, and in the case of pacemakers and grafted electronic implants, can affect the operation of the device. In addition, a distorted magnetic field can adversely affect the operation of an expensive tomograph.

General recommendations

Proper preparation for the procedure allows you to achieve comfortable conditions during the examination, as well as reduce the risk of exposure to the patient’s health. Regardless of the type of tomograph and the diagnosed area, there are a number of fundamental points for MRI. Preparation for the study is reduced to the following rules:

  • Immediately before the diagnosis, you need to wear spacious and comfortable clothes in which there is no metal hardware. Most clinics provide a special disposable bathrobe,
  • Many experts recommend rinsing all cosmetics before the procedure. Some types of makeup contain trace amounts of metal. However, even their insignificant content may affect the reliability of the research results,
  • It is strictly forbidden to undergo MRI in the presence of piercings, jewelry and other metal accessories on the body. This will not only cause the device to malfunction, but can also cause harm to health,
  • Before starting the study, you need to warn the specialist about the presence of permanent tattoos on the body. The presence of metallic elements in tattoo ink can lead to serious burns and other dermatological problems,
  • You should not take a mobile phone and other electronic devices, as well as plastic bank cards, into the treatment room. Exposure to a magnet can cause serious damage to your gadgets,
  • When using contrast or anesthesia for examination, it is necessary to check for allergies to the components of the administered medication,
  • In chronic pathologies of the internal organs of the abdominal cavity and pelvis, especially the liver and kidneys, clinical and biochemical blood tests must be taken before an MRI scan to avoid possible complications,
  • Using a tomograph during pregnancy is an emergency diagnostic measure. Despite the fact that today there is no reliable data on the dangers of magnetic effects on the fetus, the procedure can lead to problems in the development of the child,
  • Due to the fact that the technique is carried out in a limited space, it is impossible to do an MRI in the presence of claustrophobia and other neurological pathologies that have a similar clinical picture,
  • The magnetic resonance imaging procedure for children is performed under general anesthesia, and some adult patients are advised to take sedatives in advance.
  • It is necessary to warn the diagnostician in advance about the presence of prostheses, implants, as well as pacemakers, which may become unusable after exposure to the magnet, as well as cause a heart attack.

All modern tomographs are equipped with a voice communication system that allows you to maintain contact with a specialist during the procedure. If the patient worsened during the examination, and also experienced severe discomfort, then you must immediately tell the doctor about this.

In some cases, preparation for MRI involves radiography. It allows you to detect the presence of metal fragments or other elements remaining in the body after injuries. Sometimes an x-ray is necessary when the patient is in a helpless state and cannot report the implants or prostheses sewn into the body.

Before the procedure, you need to prepare an insurance policy, a referral for diagnosis, as well as provide the specialist with a medical history, the results of preliminary tests and studies.

Special training

In some cases, special conditions must be observed in order for the results of the study to be reliable. Some exceptional cases:

  • Before the abdominal MRI, you should discard the fluid and food for 5 hours before the examination. This is crucial for the gallbladder to remain full throughout the scan. The day before the procedure, you should abandon the products that enhance gas formation - vegetables, carbonated drinks, milk, black grain bread, as well as legumes. Many doctors recommend that at the stage of preparation for the examination, take the necessary dose of activated carbon and enzyme preparations that prevent gas formation,
  • To obtain informative MRI results in the diagnosis of pelvic organs, a prerequisite is a full bladder. To do this, do not empty it for several hours before the diagnosis, as well as drink 1 liter of water an hour before tomography,
  • MRI of any part of the spine in humans and ridge in animals is the longest procedure. This is due to the fact that at first the patient is in a horizontal position, and then the surface of the tomograph is deployed vertically. Before conducting computed tomography of this department, it is advisable to take a sedative to completely relax the body. How to prepare for MRI of the spine in each individual case should be determined by the attending physician.

Preparation for MRI is an important condition not only for obtaining informative and reliable results, but also for the prevention of complications after the procedure. All procedural and physiological aspects should be discussed by the doctor at the stage of appointment of this method. Emergency tomography for certain patients carries certain risks, which is why it is important to have a completed outpatient card, which records the presence of an allergy to medications, as well as the fact of installing an implant, prosthesis, tooth pin or pacemaker.

Pregnancy and MRI

If you are pregnant, be sure to inform your doctor before the test. Беременность не является противопоказанием к МРТ, но не совсем ясно какое воздействие оказывает магнитное поле на плод. МРТ не рекомендуют проводить в первые 3 месяца беременности — лучше отложить обследование или выбрать альтернативный метод.