You may or may not have had an MRI scan before, but they can cause some people anxiety. Here’s some information to explain what you can expect...
When you have a scan you’ll lie down on a bed that slides into a large tube, which is surrounded by a circular magnet. Because of this magnet, you’ll be asked to remove all metal from your body, including jewellery, piercings, hearing aids and dentures.
You’ll also be asked if you have any medical devices that contain any metal such as a pacemaker, a copper intrauterine device (IUD), artificial joints or if you have any broken bones that have been repaired with metal screws or pins. But don’t worry, having metal in your body doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t have an MRI scan. Medical staff will assess whether you can go ahead with the procedure and can take any precautions needed to ensure your safety.
Before or during the scan, you may be given an injection of a type of fluid, which makes any active lesions visible on a scan. This fluid is a type of contrast dye called gadolinium. If having an injection makes you feel anxious, let your doctor or MS nurse know as they may be able to reassure you and put you at ease. It’s also important to tell the technician if you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding.
It takes about 30 minutes to an hour to take all of the different scans. It can be quite noisy but the technician operating the scanner will be able to hear you and to speak to you, so you can talk to each other at any time. When the scanner is taking a scan, the technician will ask you to stay as still as you can so they can get a clear image. If the idea of lying in the scanner worries you, let your technician know as they may be able to make the experience easier for you.