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A crucial addition to many complete medical diagnoses is a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. An MRI scan provides doctors with an internal visual of your body so they can view musculoskeletal injuries and chronic conditions. 

MRI machines generate a magnetic field and radio waves that allow special cameras to capture detailed, 3D images of the musculoskeletal system in your body. This in-depth, three-dimensional view allows doctors to make a more accurate assessment of the cause and severity of your condition so they can formulate the correct treatment.

If you’re injured or suffering from chronic pain, there’s a good chance your doctor will recommend that you get an MRI scan. If you’ve never had one before or need a refresher, here are some things to keep in mind before your MRI scan appointment.

What to do before

Let your technician know about any medications you’re taking as well as if you have any chronic conditions like diabetes. These could affect your MRI experience, but your technician can make adjustments to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible if you let them know of these conditions and medications in advance.

Also, let your technician know if you have tattoos and metal implants. The MRI machine can interact with certain dyes in tattoos and can interfere with metal implants. 

What to wear

There are two important rules to keep in mind when deciding what to wear to an MRI scan:

  1. Don’t wear any metal — Don’t wear metal jewelry, don’t wear pants with zippers or metal buttons, don’t wear shirts with metal buttons and remove any piercings. Even some bras that have metal wires or clasps are unsafe to wear in an MRI machine. MRI machines make use of powerful magnets that can manipulate any metal you’re wearing and potentially cause harm.
  2. Dress comfortably — Some MRI scans are finished after a few minutes, while others may last for 30 minutes up to an hour. You may want to wear a comfortable T-shirt and some sports shorts or sweatpants and socks. 

What to expect

  • Noise — MRI machines can be loud, which may be unsettling if you are uncomfortable with loud noises or are lying in the machine for a long time. Let your technician know if the noise is an issue. They may be able to provide some hearing protection.
  • Time — MRI scans can take a long time, so make sure your schedule for the day is free if you have an MRI scan appointment.
  • Small spaces — MRI machines are like long, narrow tubes. If you’re claustrophobic, this can be uncomfortable. Let your technician know if you are claustrophobic so they can work with you to find a solution. In some cases, you may take a light sedative to help you relax.

Visit the Florida Spine and Joint Institute today for an MRI scan near you

Has your doctor recommended getting an MRI scan so they can make a more accurate diagnosis of your pain or injury? Our team at the Florida Spine and Joint Institute performs MRI scans in several of our clinic locations across the state. Contact us today if you’re looking for an MRI scan near you or to schedule an initial appointment.