What to Expect During an MRI

This 3-part blog will address the questions many patients have about MRI scans; what is an MRI, why do I need an MRI, where can I get an MRI and when are they open?  In this third section, we'll address the "How" of MRI.

 How Can I Get an MRI?

Simple Instructions:

  1. You must have an order from a doctor or other practitioner (nurse practitioner, physician's assistant).
  2. You will usually require precertification from your insurance.  Your doctor's office will often reach out to your insurance for this information, but you can check with your insurance directly if you want to.
  3. You will need to be safe to enter the MRI environment.  This is the MOST important part of getting ready for an MRI.
    1. If you have ever welded or grinded metal, you should have an x-ray of your eyes to look for pieces of metal (even if you wore safety goggles).  If you have had an MRI since the last time you did welding or grinding, you can have this MRI without having the x-ray of your eyes again.
    2. If you are pregnant - you need to consult with your physician.  Most radiologists do not recommend an MRI while in the first trimester of pregnancy.  There are no proven risks to having an MRI while pregnant, but doctors are still very cautious.
    3. If you have any implanted device (pacemaker, defibrillator, pain pump, insulin pump, etc.), this device will need to be cleared by the MRI technologist prior to your arrival at our facility. Clearing these devices can sometimes take hours of research and we want to be respectful of your time.  If you have an implanted device, you should have been given a card by the physician who implanted the device. This card will allow the MRI tech to look up your device to see if it is safe to be in the MRI environment. An MRI has big magnets that can change the functions of devices.  Call us with the information from your card, or have the nurse at your doctor's office fax a copy to Hillsboro Area Hospital
    4. If you have an implanted joint (these are usually metal), as long as the joint has been in your body for 6 weeks or more, you can have the MRI.
    5. If you have tattoos; be aware that some tattoos have metallic fragments in them.  Metal heats up in the MRI environment. You will need to let the technologist know if you are feeling heating.
  4. Wear clothing without any metal.  This includes your bra. Metal can heat up in the MRI environment, causing burns.  Some newer fitness clothing will have metal in it. If you see the label says, "anti-microbial" (kills microbes/bacteria) it most likely does that with Nanosilver technology.  Therefore, it is not recommended that you wear fitness clothing for your MRI. A simple cotton t-shirt and shorts or sweat-pants are the perfect attire! If you do not have the perfect attire, don't worry.  We do! We have paper scrubs that you can change into that cover you nicely. If you do not have a cotton sports bra and want to wear a bra during your MRI, we have some available for you to wear.
  5. Show up about 15 minutes early.  If you come earlier, you will wait longer. MRI's usually take the entire hour to screen the patient, have the patient dress, use the restroom and do the scan.  Showing up early will not help you to get in earlier.
  6. But don't show up late!  If you come late, you are making the next patient wait on you as these exams are often scheduled back-to-back.  We want to be respectful of everyone's time. If you are running late due to unavoidable circumstances, call us at 217-532-4196.  Let us know you are running late. Sometimes, there is not a patient after you and it's ok. Other times, we might need to move you to a later appointment so we can be respectful of your time and the other patients we have on our schedule.

Finally, know that we at HAH are committed to providing you with the best possible experience and the highest quality of care!  You are our friends, families and neighbors and not "just a number". As our Lead MRI tech, Stephanie says, "We're large enough to be able to do it right and small enough to care that it's done right!"

Thank you for choosing HAH for all your MRI needs!

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