Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Head
How To Prepare
Before your MRI test, tell your doctor
and the MRI technologist if you:
- Are allergic to any medicines. The
contrast material used for MRI does not have iodine.
If you know that you are allergic to the contrast material used for the MRI, tell your doctor before having another test.
- Have any other health conditions,
such as kidney problems or
sickle cell disease, that may prevent you from having
an MRI using contrast material.
- Are or might be
- Have any metal implanted in your body. This helps your doctor know if the test is safe for you. Tell your doctor if you have:
- o Heart and blood vessel devices such as a coronary artery stent, pacemaker, ICD (implantable cardioverter-defibrillator), or metal heart valve.
- o Metal pins, clips, or metal parts in your body, including artificial limbs and dental work or braces.
- o Any other implanted medical device, such as a medicine infusion pump or a cochlear implant.
- o Cosmetic metal implants, such as in your ears, or tattooed eyeliner.
- Have an
intrauterine device (IUD) in place. An IUD may prevent
you from having the MRI test done.
- Become very nervous in small,
tight spaces. You need to lie very still inside the MRI magnet. You may need
medicine to help you relax.
- Wear any medicine patches. The MRI may cause a burn at the patch
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.
You will need to sign a consent form that says you
understand the risks of an 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?).
How It Is Done
A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test
is done by an MRI technologist. The pictures are read by a
radiologist. But some other types of doctors (such as
neurosurgeon) can also read an MRI scan of the
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. If you have
had an accident or you work around metal, there is a chance that you have metal
pieces in your head, eyes, skin, or spine. An X-ray may be taken before the MRI
to see if you can have the test.
You may need to take off some of
your clothes. You will be given a gown to wear during the test. If you keep
your clothes on, 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.