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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Abdomen

How To Prepare continued...

For some abdominal MRI tests, you may be asked to not eat or drink before the test.

You may need to sign a consent form that says you understand the risks of an abdominal MRI and agree to have the test done. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).

You may need to arrange for someone to drive you home after the test, if you are given a medicine (sedative) to help you relax.

How It Is Done

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test is usually done by an MRI technologist. The resulting pictures are usually interpreted by a radiologist. But some other types of doctors can also interpret an MRI scan.

You will need to remove all metal objects (such as hearing aids, dentures, jewelry, watches, and hairpins) from your body because these objects may be attracted to the powerful magnet used for the test.

You will need to take off all or most of your clothes, depending on which area is examined (you may be allowed to keep on your underwear if it is not in the way). You will be given a gown to use during the test. If you are allowed to keep some of your clothes on, you should empty your pockets of any coins and cards (such as credit cards or ATM cards) with scanner strips on them because the MRI magnet may erase the information on the cards.

During the test, you will lie on your back on a table that is part of the MRI scanner. Your head, chest, and arms may be held with straps to help you remain still. The table will slide into the space that contains the magnet. A device called a coil may be placed over or wrapped around the area to be scanned. A special belt strap may be used to sense your breathing. The belt triggers the machine to take the scan at the right time.

Some people feel nervous (claustrophobic) inside the MRI magnet. If feeling nervous keeps you from lying still, you can be given a medicine (sedative) to help you relax. Some MRI machines (called open MRI) are made so that the magnet does not enclose your entire body. Open MRI machines may be helpful if you are claustrophobic. See pictures of a standard MRI machine camera.gif and an open MRI machine camera.gif.

Inside the scanner, you will hear a fan and feel air moving. You may also hear tapping or snapping noises as the MRI scans are taken. You may be given earplugs or headphones with music to reduce the noise. It is very important to hold completely still while the scan is being done. You may be asked to hold your breath for short periods of time.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 29, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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