Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an imaging test. It lets your doctor see pictures of the inside of your body. MRI uses strong magnets and radio waves to form an image.

How do I get ready for an MRI?

  • Complete a screening questionnaire about any electronic or metal devices or foreign metal objects in your body.

  • Follow any directions you are given for not eating or drinking before the test.

  • Ask your provider if you should stop taking any medicine before the test.

  • Follow your normal daily routine unless your provider tells you otherwise.

  • Remove your watch, jewelry, and hearing aids. You will also need to take any credit cards, pens, pocket knives, glasses, and metal objects out of your pockets.

  • Remove your makeup. Makeup may contain some metal.

Most MRI tests take a half hour to an hour. But the test may take longer depending on the type of MRI you are having. Give yourself extra time to check in.

What happens during an MRI?

  • You may be asked to wear a hospital gown.

  • You may be given earplugs to wear if you need them.

  • You may be injected with a special dye (contrast). This makes the MRI image better. 

  • You’ll lie down on a platform that slides into the magnet.

What to tell your healthcare provider

Tell your healthcare provider and the technologist if you:

  • Have ever had an imaging test such as MRI or CT with contrast dye

  • Are allergic to contrast dye, iodine, shellfish, or any medicines

  • Have a serious health problem. This includes diabetes or kidney disease, or a liver transplant.

  • Are pregnant or could be, or are breastfeeding

  • Have any implanted device or metal clips or pins in your body

What happens after an MRI?

  • You can get back to normal activities right away. Any contrast used will pass naturally through your body within a day. You may be told to drink more water or other fluids during this time. 

  • Your doctor will discuss the test results with you during a follow-up appointment or over the phone.

  • Your next appointment is: __________________


Online Medical Reviewer: Louise Cunningham RN BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Neil Grossman MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Turley Jr PA-C
Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2020
© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.