I had to go and get my first MRI yesterday. I was very nervous and had no idea what to expect. I didn't know if it would hurt, feel uncomfortable or really just be an easy procedure. I did a few what to expect google searches but nothing that really answered my questions. This is my experience getting an MRI, not everyones will be identical, but this gives you a general idea. Also, I am not a doctor, this is just my experience in my words.
What to expect when you get a MRI
1. You will check in and wait in the waiting room until they are ready for you. I was lucky and only had to wait a few minutes. They recommend coming to your appointment 15 minutes early just in case you have any paperwork to fill out or if you need insurance cards copied, etc.
2. I was then taken to a changing area with lockers where I was given a pair of scrubs to change into. I had previously read online that if I wore all cotton clothes without any metal on them then I wouldn't have to change. This was untrue where I went, and I still had to change into scrubs. Woman need to take their bras off and leave them in their locker because many bras have underwire in them. You have a locker where you can lock your clothes and personal items. You need to leave your cell phone on silent or turned off in your locker. Your technician will hold the key for you while you are getting your MRI.
3. If you are having an MRI with Contrast, a technician will take you to an exam room at this time and put an IV in your arm. This is just a quick poke and doesn't hurt bad but is necessary so they can inject the contrast material.
4. I was then taken to the room where I would be getting my MRI. I was asked to lay down on the MRI bed. The MRI machine is a long tube that you go into for the procedure.
5. I was warned that the MRI procedure was very loud and my technician gave me the option of wearing Ear plugs. I am glad that I was given this option because it is loud. If you don't receive this option, you could probably ask for it.
6. My body and head was surrounded with small Pillows to hold body tight in place and to make me more comfortable.
7. My technician gave me a Stress Ball type object to squeeze if I felt any concerns during the procedure. This made it so I could notify him if there was a problem or if I needed him. Luckily, I did not need to use this.
8. When you are getting your MRI you can communicate with your technician. Your technician steps out of the room during the procedure where he can monitor you, and ask you questions through the monitor.
9. They reminded me that it is important to hold perfectly still during the whole procedure. Movement can blur the results on your testing so this is very important.
10. While in your procedure you will hear random Tapping sounds and loud buzzing sounds. They are really loud, and the sounds change through out the whole procedure. This made me feel uncomfortable and first because it was so loud, but you get used to it.
11. Above my head in the MRI machine, I had a small mirror that allowed me to see the technician and I could keep track of what was going outside of the MRI machine. I appreciated this mirror because it made me feel more comfortable to see what was going on.
12. My procedure took about 30 minutes, but MRI's typically can take up to 1 hour.
MRI's don't hurt (minus the minor poke for the iv) , they are not uncomfortable, and really just take time. If you are claustrophobic, you may have a different experience but they can help you with that.