MRI Preparation

MRI of the Brain or Orbits

  • No eye makeup or hair pins/hair weaves 

MRI of the Abdomen and/or MRCP

  • No food or drink for 4 hours prior to exam.  NPO for 6-8 hrs is optimal.

You may be asked to wear a gown during the exam or you may be allowed to wear your own clothing if it is loose-fitting and has no metal fasteners. You will be asked to empty your pockets and remove eyeglasses, hearing aids, hairpins, removable dental work, jewelry, watches or any other metallic objects.

Guidelines about eating and drinking before an MRI vary depending on the type of exam. Unless you are told otherwise, you may follow your regular daily routine and take medications as usual. Some MRI examinations may require the patient to receive an injection of contrast into the bloodstream.

MRI Safety

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a way of obtaining very detailed images of organs and tissues throughout the body without utilizing radiation.  Instead, MRI utilizes a powerful magnetic field, radio waves, a rapidly changing magnetic field, and a computer to demonstrate whether or not there is an injury or  some disease process present.  An MRI exam causes no pain, and the magnetic fields cause no known tissue damage or side effects.  However, the powerful magnetic field of the MR system will attract iron-containing (ferromagnetic) objects or cause them to move suddenly and with great force.  This includes items in the body (aneurysm clips...) or external objects.  Other metallic implants or objects may distort the MRI images.  In addition, some MRI exams may require the injection of a contrast material called gadolinium into a vein to help interpret the exam.  Although gadolinium does not contain iodine, recent findings have shown the gadolinium-based contrast agents increase the risk of nephrogenic system fibrosis (NSF) in certain patients. 

For these reasons, great care is taken to ensure your safety. All MRI patients are asked the following questions:

MRI Screening Questions:

  1. Is this your First MRI? ____ If no, where was the previous MRI performed? __________________
  2. Was the previous MRI for the same problem?______
  3. What is your weight? _____    
  4. Have you ever sought medical treatment for getting metal fragments in your eyes or had significant exposure to welding, grinding or soldering due to your profession or hobby?  _________
    1. If yes, an orbit x-ray will be done free of charge prior to your scan. These x-rays are done on a walk in basis Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. 
  5. Have you ever had any type of cancer? ___ If yes, what type and when were you diagnosed?__________
  6. Are you claustrophobic? ___    If you and your physician determine that a sedative (such as Valium) is needed for this procedure, take the medication as prescribed by your physician prior to scan.
  7. Do you have renal failure? ____   Do you have kidney disease? ____  Have you had kidney surgery?____
  8. Are you diabetic? ____             If so, we must have a creatinine lab value within the last 30 days.
  9. Do you have any implanted devices such as Aneurysm clips, insulin pumps, TENS unit, epidural drug delivery, artificial heart valve, defibrillator or a Pacemaker? ____ (If yes, you probably cannot have a MRI or your physician must provide us documentation with make and model of implanted devices )
  10. Have you had surgery in the last 6 weeks? ___ If yes, what kind?_______________________  (We suggest you schedule 6 weeks after your surgery)
  11. Have you ever had any surgery on the area being scanned? ____ If yes, when?__________
  12. Do you have a chest port for IV access? ____ If yes, we do not have a nurse to inject contrast into a port – we must inject the patient.
  13. Please bring a list of all medications you are currently taking.
  14. Is there chance you could be pregnant? _____
  15. Does this exam require pre-authorization from your insurance? ______ 

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Quick Reference

Wake Forest Baptist Imaging

Phone 336-765-5722
Fax 336-765-5723
Billing 866-591-5559

265 Executive Park
Winston-Salem, NC 27103
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Last Updated: 12-17-2013
USNWR 2013-2014Magnet Hospital RecognitionConsumer Choice2014 Best DoctorsJoint Commission Report

Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.