7 Tips for Your First MRI


If you’ve never had an MRI before, it’s understandable to feel a little apprehensive. You may be wondering what the process is like, what to expect during your scan, and how you can prepare yourself for the experience. Fortunately, there are several things you can use to ensure your first MRI goes as smoothly as possible. In this post, we’ll explore some of the top tips for first-time MRI patients, from what to wear to how to manage feelings of anxiety. Let’s get started!

Educate Yourself About the Process

One of the best ways to ease anxiety about your first MRI is to learn all you can about the process beforehand. There are many free online resources available that can help you understand what an MRI is, how it works, and what you can expect during your scan. The more you know about the procedure, the less intimidating it will seem.

It’s important to note that MRIs can vary depending on what part of the body is being scanned. For example, if you’re getting an MRI for your head, you may need to remove any jewelry or accessories that could interfere with the scan. On the other hand, if you’re getting an MRI for your knee, you will likely be asked to wear loose and comfortable clothing that will allow for easy movement during the scan. It’s always a good idea to ask your doctor or the imaging center about any specific instructions for your particular MRI before your appointment.

Wear Comfortable Clothing

When it comes to what to wear for your MRI, comfort is key. Choose loose-fitting clothing that allows for easy movement and doesn’t have any metal buttons, snaps, or zippers. This will help to ensure that you’re as comfortable as possible during the scan and will prevent any interference with the MRI machine. You’ll likely be given a hospital gown to change into before the scan, so keep this in mind when selecting your outfit for the day.

It’s important to note that certain clothing items should not be worn during an MRI. This includes any clothing with metal, such as underwire bras, which can interfere with the machine and cause inaccurate scan results. It’s also best to avoid wearing makeup or hair products that contain metallic particles, as these can also affect the scan. Additionally, if you have any tattoos with metallic ink, it’s best to inform your doctor or the imaging center beforehand as this may also affect the MRI results.

Bring a Comfort Item

Many people find that having a comfort item with them during their MRI helps to alleviate feelings of anxiety and stress. This could be anything from a loved one or stuffed animal to a calming playlist of music to listen to during the scan. Bring along whatever makes you feel most relaxed and comfortable, so you can focus on the experience itself rather than any feelings of nervousness.

For children who may be getting an MRI for the first time, comfort items can be especially helpful in easing any fears or anxieties they may have. Parents can encourage their child to bring a favorite toy or stuffed animal with them to hold onto during the scan. Some imaging centers also offer fun and comforting accessories such as colorful headphones or movie goggles that can help distract and calm children during the procedure. As a parent, it’s important to communicate with your child and healthcare provider about any concerns or fears they may have and work together to find ways to make the experience as comfortable as possible for them.


Practice Relaxation Techniques

If you’re feeling particularly anxious about your MRI, consider practicing relaxation techniques beforehand. Deep breathing exercises, visualization techniques, and mindfulness meditation can all help to calm your mind and body before and during the scan. Take some time to practice these techniques in the days leading up to your MRI, so you feel more prepared and relaxed when the day arrives.

During the MRI procedure, it’s important to remain as calm and relaxed as possible. This can help you stay still during the scan and ensure accurate results. It’s also important to remember that the MRI technologist will be there to guide you through the process and answer any questions or concerns you may have. Keeping a positive mindset and trusting in the expertise of the medical professionals can also help ease any nerves and make for a more comfortable experience.

Special Scan Circumstances

For some individuals, there may be special circumstances that require extra preparation before an MRI. This could include those who are claustrophobic or have anxiety disorders, someone needing an MRI Wheelchair, as well as pregnant women or people with certain medical devices such as pacemakers.

In these cases, it’s important to discuss any concerns or potential challenges with your doctor or the imaging center beforehand. They can provide you with tips and resources to help make the MRI experience as comfortable and stress-free as possible, such as using an open MRI machine or providing sedation during the scan. By communicating your needs and concerns to the medical professionals, you can ensure that your first MRI is a positive one.

Ask Questions and Communicate With Your Staff

Be sure to communicate with the MRI staff and ask any questions you may have before, during, or after the scan. The techs performing your MRI are there to support you and ensure that your experience is as comfortable and stress-free as possible. If you’re feeling nervous or uncomfortable during the scan, don’t hesitate to speak up and let them know. They may be able to adjust the machine or provide additional support to help you feel more at ease.

What to Expect Afterward

After your MRI scan, you may be able to resume your normal activities right away. However, if you were given a sedative for the procedure, it’s important to arrange for someone to drive you home as you may feel drowsy or lightheaded. It’s also common to experience some mild discomfort at the site of the injection or IV used during the scan. If you experience any unusual symptoms or have concerns, be sure to contact your doctor for further guidance.

Remember, your MRI results may not be available immediately after the scan. It often takes time for a radiologist to review and interpret the images before sharing the results with your doctor. Be patient and try not to worry too much as waiting for results can be stressful. However, if you haven’t heard back from your doctor after a few days, feel free to reach out and inquire about the results. It’s important to stay informed and advocate for your own health.

Going for an MRI can be an intimidating experience, especially if you’ve never had one before. However, by taking the time to educate yourself, prepare your mind and body, and communicate with your healthcare team, you can make the process a lot more manageable and even enjoyable. Follow these tips for your first MRI, and remember that you’re not alone. Countless people have undergone MRI scans before you, and the MRI staff are there to help you through every step of the way. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, communicate your needs, and take care of yourself before, during, and after your scan. With a little bit of preparation and support, you’ll be ready to tackle your first MRI and come out the other side feeling empowered and informed.