An MRI scan is a pretty powerful, helpful imaging test that allows doctors to see the internal structures of your body. Your doctor might send you for an MRI if they suspect you have cancer or a benign growth in one of your organs, or if you have a soft tissue injury in one of your joints. If this is your first time getting an MRI, then naturally, you may be pondering some of the questions below.
What does MRI stand for?
MRI stands for "magnetic resonance imaging." That name is very fitting, as it does a good job of explaining how an MRI works. The machine generates a magnetic field, and then a computer measures how that magnetic field is altered by your body, thereby producing images of your body on a screen.
What do you feel in an MRI machine?
Surprisingly, you don't feel anything while the magnetic field is doing its job. You do, however, have to lie still in a tube-line tunnel while the MRI machine works. This can make some patients feel a little claustrophobic and nervous. If you believe this may bother you, then talk to your doctor about it prior to your test. They may be able to prescribe a mild, oral sedative to help keep you calm during the imaging test.
How do you prepare for an MRI?
There's really no prep required unless your doctor has prescribed you some medication, like a sedative, to take before the test. You can eat as usual. If you have any metal accessories you wear, such as jewelry or a wig, then you'll need to remove them prior to the test.
When will you get the results?
This depends mostly on your doctor's schedule. Typically, after an MRI, your images will be sent over to your doctor. Your doctor may take a few days to review them before calling you in for a consultation to discuss the results. If your doctor suspects a serious ailment, they may call you back the same day to discuss your results. But for less-serious problems, expect a slightly longer wait. Keep in mind that MRIs do not always "find" something. There's a chance that the test won't reveal anything wrong, and your doctor may then order additional tests.
With the information above, you should be better prepared for your first MRI! It's a really helpful test that works due to the power of magnetism.