Kenya Society of Physiotherapists Home Your Guide to MRI Examinations What to Expect and How to Prepare

Your Guide to MRI Examinations What to Expect and How to Prepare

When it comes to medical imaging, MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans play a crucial role in diagnosing various health conditions. If you’ve been scheduled for an MRI examination, it’s natural to have questions and concerns about the process. In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to prepare for your MRI appointment and understand what to expect during the procedure.

Understanding MRI Scans

MRI, also known as magnetic resonance imaging, is a non-invasive medical imaging technique that uses a powerful magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the internal structures of the body. Unlike X-rays or CT scans, MRI does not involve exposure to ionizing radiation, making it a safe option for patients of all ages.

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Preparing for Your MRI Appointment

Before your MRI appointment, there are a few important steps to take to ensure a smooth experience. First, you’ll need to remove all metal objects from your body, including jewelry, watches, and clothing with metal fasteners. Some MRI facilities may provide gowns or scrubs to wear during the scan.

It’s also crucial to inform your healthcare provider and the MRI technologist if you have any metal implants or devices in your body, such as pacemakers, cochlear implants, or surgical clips. While many metal implants are considered safe for MRI, it’s essential for the medical team to be aware of them to prevent any potential complications.

What to Expect During the MRI Scan

Once you’ve prepared for the MRI examination and changed into appropriate attire, you’ll be guided into the MRI suite. Depending on the type of MRI scanner used, you may encounter different setups. Traditional closed-bore MRI scanners are the most common and consist of a cylindrical tube-like structure where the patient lies down on a movable table that slides into the scanner.

In contrast, open MRI scanners offer a more spacious and less confining environment, making them suitable for patients who may feel claustrophobic in closed-bore scanners or those with mobility issues. Open MRI scanners have openings on multiple sides, providing a more comfortable experience for patients during the scan.

During the MRI scan, you’ll be asked to lie still on the examination table as it moves into the scanner. The MRI machine will emit loud noises, which can vary in intensity and frequency depending on the type of scan being performed. You may be given earplugs or headphones to protect your hearing from the noise.

Safety and Comfort During the MRI

Throughout the MRI examination, your safety and comfort are top priorities. The MRI technologist will communicate with you via an intercom system and monitor your condition from a separate control room. If you experience any discomfort or need assistance during the scan, you can communicate with the technologist using the provided communication device.

It’s common to feel cold or warm sensations during the administration of contrast medium, a dye used to enhance the visibility of certain structures in the MRI images. Additionally, some patients may experience a metallic taste in their mouth or an increased urge to urinate, which are normal reactions to the contrast medium.


In conclusion, MRI examinations are valuable diagnostic tools that provide detailed images of the body’s internal structures without the use of radiation. By understanding what to expect and how to prepare for your MRI appointment, you can ensure a comfortable and successful experience. Whether you’re undergoing a scan in a traditional closed-bore MRI scanner or an open MRI scanner, rest assured that your safety and well-being are the top priorities of the medical team. If you have any questions or concerns about your MRI examination, don’t hesitate to discuss them with your healthcare provider or the MRI technologist.


Preparing for Your MRI Appointment

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