The MRI exam itself is painless. The technologist will ask you to lie down on a cushioned table. A device called a coil will be adjusted into place. The table is moved into position within the large donut-shaped magnet. Keep in mind that the part of the body being imaged needs to be positioned in the center of the magnet. The technologist will be in contact with you at all times visually and through an intercom. You will hear a series of repetitive pulsing or knocking noises. This noise occurs when the images are being taken so it is particularly important to hold very still. Motion causes the images to blur and will extend the exam time since it would be necessary to repeat that sequence. Headphones with music or earplugs are offered to muffle the loud noises heard during the exam.
Your doctor or the radiologist will determine whether an injection of contrast (dye) is necessary to complete your test. MRI contrast is very different from x-ray contrast. It does not contain Iodine, which many patients are allergic to when having Cat Scan or IVP exams.