MRI Preparations

Generally, no preparation is necessary for an MRI scan.  However, with certain MRI scans preparation may be necessary.  Ask your healthcare provider to give you any instructions.

If your healthcare provider gives you a script or films, please bring them to your appointment.  You may eat or drink before the exam and continue your normal activities afterward.

Because the strong magnetic field used for MRI may affect certain metallic objects and electronic devices implanted in the body; our MRI staff will ask whether you have any of the following:

  • Heart pacemaker or artificial heart valve
  • Aneurysm clip in the brain
  • Intrauterine Device (IUD)
  • Prosthetic hip or knee
  • Implanted vascular port (brand names Port-o-cath, Infusaport, Lifeport)
  • Any metal plates, pins, screws, or surgical staples

Pacemakers are not safe in the magnet.  In most cases, surgical staples, plates, pins and screws pose no risk during MRI if they have been in place for more than 4-6 weeks.  You will be asked if you have ever had a bullet or shrapnel in your body, or ever worked with metal.

If there is any uncertainty of metal fragments, especially in the eye, you may be asked to have an x-ray that will detect any such metal objects.  Tooth fillings usually are not affected by the magnetic field, but they may distort images of the facial area or brain, so the radiologist should be aware of them.  The same is true of braces, which may make it hard to “tune” the MRI unit into your body.

You will be asked to remove anything that might degrade MRI images of the head, including hairpins, jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids, and any removable dental work.  Dyes used in tattoos and permanent eyeliner may contain metallic iron oxide and could, in rare circumstances, heat up during MRI.

The radiologists or technologist may ask if you have any drug allergies and whether you have undergone any surgery in the past.  If you are or might be pregnant, please advise the MRI staff.