In some cases (such as for MRI brain scanning or MRA), a chemical designed to increase image contrast may be given immediately before the exam. If a patient suffers from anxiety or claustrophobia, drugs may be given to help the patient relax.
The patient must remove all metal objects (watches, jewelry, eye glasses, hair clips, etc.). Any magnetized objects (like credit and bank machine cards, audio tapes, etc.) should be kept far away from the MRI equipment because they can be erased. The patient cannot bring any personal items such as a wallet or keys into the MRI machine. The patient may be asked to wear clothing without metal snaps, buckles, or zippers, unless a medical gown is worn during the procedure. The patient may be asked not to use hair spray, hair gel, or cosmetics that could interfere with the scan.
No aftercare is necessary, unless the patient received medication or had a reaction to a contrast agent. Normally, patients can immediately return to their daily activities. If the exam reveals a serious condition that requires more testing or treatment, appropriate information and counseling will be needed.
MRI poses no known health risks to the patient and produces no physical side effects. Again, the potential effects of MRI on an unborn baby are not well known. Any woman who is, or may be, pregnant, should carefully discuss this issue with her doctor and radiologist before undergoing a scan.
A normal MRI, MRA, MRS, or MRCP result is one that shows the patient's physical condition to fall within normal ranges for the target area scanned.
Kurt Richard Sternlof, Laith Farid Gulli M.D., The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit,