How To Prepare For An MRI Exam

How To Prepare For An MRI Exam

Prepare for an MRI scan by learning what not to wear, since some materials react with the magnets inside the MRI and can cause blurry scans or injury. Learning about clothing restrictions helps prevent harm and makes for a safe, easy visit.

Can I Wear a Wig?

No. Some wigs contain trace amounts of metal from wig clips, hairpins or adjustable straps. Many types of extensions also contain metallic particles. The MRI’s powerful magnetic field causes metal objects and particles to heat up, which can lead to burns.

Be aware that products like hairspray can interact with the MRI, as well. Even if you avoid burns, the resulting images could come out blurry from the presence of metal — which means you may have to redo the scan.

Can I Wear Makeup?

No. Makeup includes various minerals and synthetic colorants containing metal. Eyeshadow, lipstick and skin cream possess the highest amounts of these substances. Leaving it on during an MRI can run the risk for burns or blurry images.

Forgo the makeup on your appointment day, or wipe it off before you enter the scan room. Leave your nails unpainted, too. Nail polish also contains metallic particles that could interfere with scanning.

Can I Wear Clothes?

Yes. You can wear clothes during an MRI, but this depends on the fabric. Avoid athleisure clothing, as some brands weave metal fibers such as silver into the fabric. Compression wear or tight clothes aren’t recommended.

Hoodies, jeans, and jackets often have metal components like zippers and buttons. Check your clothing before your appointment to ensure it has no parts that will interfere with testing. If you’re unsure, go with plain cotton or linen pajamas.

Can I Wear Jewelry?

No. Leave your rings, earrings, bracelets, and necklaces at home or remove them before entering the scan room. Jewelry heats up from the magnetic field and can cause painful burns or distort the resulting images.

This restriction also applies to glasses — leave them outside the scan room. Leave your purse or wallet with someone you trust, as these can’t enter the scan room either.

Can I Get an MRI With a Tattoo?

This depends — speak with your doctor for guidance. Some tattoo inks contain dyes that interact with the MRI and absorb energy, causing them to warm up. You could possibly feel a pulling or tingling sensation in your skin due to the MRI magnets interacting with your tattoo.

Though this sensation isn’t dangerous, it may be uncomfortable and alarming. Tattoo dyes can also interfere with the images, causing them to appear distorted.

Can I Get an MRI If I Have Implants?

Yes. Titanium implants are MRI-compatible. Tell your doctor if you have any implants or prostheses, including hearing implants, a pacemaker, dental implants or vascular stents.

Inform your doctor of any non-titanium implants and check with the manufacturer of your device. Some non-titanium implants are still compatible with the machine and don’t pose a risk during an MRI. If not, you and your doctor may need to decide on an alternative exam method.

Can I Wear Deodorant?

No. Deodorants and antiperspirants contain trace amounts of metal, such as aluminum. The same goes for lotions and sunscreens, as many also contain metallic particles.

Sunscreens are likely to contain zinc, aluminum, and titanium. Although titanium doesn’t interact with the MRI, zinc, and aluminum can, so it’s better to leave the sunscreen at home.

Schedule an Appointment

Contact Adams Diagnostic Imaging to schedule your next MRI. We provide thorough, compassionate care with highly experienced radiologists and top-of-the-line imaging machines. If you have any questions about the process, we would be happy to answer them.

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