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MRI Exam Preparation

In general any type of MRI exam provided requires the following preparation:
  • Arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled MRI exam time so that you can complete the necessary paperwork or go to PATIENT FORMS before you arrive to save time. You may still need to fill out additional forms so please arrive early.
  • Please bring your insurance cards, prescription, photo ID, and a method of payment for any fees or co-pays. If you are unaware of your co-pay amount, please contact your insurance provider.
  • Please leave children not undergoing a diagnostic imaging procedure with a caregiver. We do not have a designated area to keep children occupied during your procedure.
  • Please turn off all cell phones, pagers, games, and two-way radios before entering our waiting room and clinic areas. These items may interfere with our scanning equipment and we like to keep a peaceful environment for those who are waiting. Ask to store your personal belongings in one of our lockers. You’ll be the only key holder, so your personal belongings will be safe. However, when possible you should leave valuables at home.
  • Please notify us immediately if you need to reschedule an appointment. Please leave a message if you receive an after hours message.
  • Unless otherwise instructed by the technologist or your physician, you will be able to drive home and resume your normal routine following any exam you undergo at BayView Radiology.
  • Bring prior x-rays or CT scans with you to the exam if you are instructed to do so.

Specific MRI Exam Preparation Instructions:

Each type of imaging exam and diagnostic or therapeutic procedure has its own specific guidelines.

Special instructions for your exam will be given at the time of scheduling. For certain procedures, a Bayview representative will contact you 24 – 48 hours prior to your MRI exam with preparation instructions.

General Test Guidelines

What is an MRI Scan?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a test used to see detailed images inside the body without using x-rays or radioactive injections.

MRI uses radio waves and magnetic fields to align atoms within the body. You’ll feel no pain, discomfort or sensation of any kind during the MRI.

What about my medical history?

Be sure to make your MRI technologist is aware of any metal that might be detected during the MRI scan including metal implants, surgical staples, aneurysm clips, a pacemaker, shrapnel, hearing aids, dental bridges, cochlear implants, spine stimulator, body tattoos, or an inferior vena cava umbrella.

Also let us know if you’re pregnant or have ever been a metal worker.

What To Do For Your MRI Exam Preparation?

Prior to your exam, go about your normal routine, including activities, meals and medications. Medications should be taken at least 30 minutes before appointment unless otherwise instructed by your physician.

When you arrive at BayView, take any medication you may have that will help you relax, such as pain medication. Just before the exam you may need to change out of your clothing into a gown.

If you have known kidney disease and/or are currently seeing a Nephrologist (kidney specialist), you will need to have blood drawn (to include BUN, Creatinine and GFR) within 30 days prior to your MRI exam.

Please contact your referring physician for an order to have your bloodwork done. You will need to go to a local laboratory for this.

What is a CT Scan?

A Computed Tomography (CT) scan is a procedure that results in a cross-sectional picture of a specific body part or organ. A thin x-ray beam moves rapidly around the designated area, generating multiple images from different angles.

An electronic detector relays these images to a computer, which then constructs an image on a computer screen. CT scans are completely painless. When contrast media is injected, you may feel slight discomfort from the needle.

What is Contrast Media?

Contrast Media is an iodine solution that is injected into your vein to allow better imaging of blood vessels and organs.

What about my medical history?

Be sure to tell us if you’re pregnant, diabetic, allergic to any foods, drugs or are being treated for any type of infection, cancer or have a history of cancer.

We’ll also need to know if you’ve had any contrast media in the past and if you had any side effects at that time.

How do I prepare for a CT scan?

If contrast media will be used during your scan, you may be asked to fast 3-4 hours beforehand. You may also be asked not to drink anything for 4 hours before the exam.

For a body scan, you’ll be asked to wear a gown and to remove all jewelry. For a head scan wear loose, comfortable clothing and remove dentures, glasses, hearing aids, earrings, hairpins and any other items that may be detected by the x-ray beam.

If you are a diabetic and currently take medication for your diabetes (with the exception of insulin), you will need to discontinue your medication the day of your test and for 48 hours after the exam.

Please do not take any NSAIDs (such as Advil, Motrin, Alleve, Ibuprofen) for 48 hours before or after your exam. Use of these medications can resume only after renal (kidney) function has been re-evaluated and found to be normal (patients will need to see their referring physician to establish this).

Contact your referring physician with any questions regarding these guidelines.

If you meet any of the following criteria, we MUST have a copy of your recent bloodwork (within 30 days of your scheduled exam) to include BUN, Creatinine & GFR:


Please contact your referring physician to obtain a prescription for lab work. Lab work must be completed at a local laboratory no more than 14 days prior to your scheduled exam.

What is an Ultrasound Scan?

Also called sonography or ultrasonography, this extremely accurate diagnostic imaging procedure uses sound waves to produce images of soft tissues which can not be duplicated with x-ray.

A sound wave passes into the body and strikes various organs sending back echoes which are interpreted by a transducer, a hand held instrument placed against the body and passed over a specific area during the exam.

Transducers are placed inside the body for some exams, such as the endovaginal test where a transducer slightly larger than a tampon is inserted into the vagina.

How do I prepare for an ultrasound?

Before certain exams, your physician may ask you to drink fluids or to empty your bladder. Avoid gas-producing foods for 1-2 days prior to the exam. No other preparation is needed

What is X-Ray Scan?

X-ray, the most common diagnostic procedure, uses short wavelength radiation that can penetrate solid body masses, resulting in film images of bones, cartilage and other internal anatomical features.

X-rays are completely painless and, in fact, involve no direct patient-equipment contact.

How do I prepare for x-rays?

There is no need to change your normal routine prior to your exam. Depending on the parts of the body to be x-rayed, you may need to remove jewelry or any other metallic accessories that may be detected.

As always, let your technologist know if you are pregnant or have metal implants or similar devices. Their presence will not affect the X-Ray exam, but knowing about them will make it easier for your physician to read the x-rays.

What is Mammography (Mammogram)?

Mammography is a screening and diagnostic procedure used to detect cancer and/or other breast disease. A mammogram provides an outline picture of the breast compiled from x-rays taken from above and from the side of the breast.

Both breasts are x-rayed during the exam to provide comparative images. There may be slight discomfort due to the compression of the breast tissue.

How do I prepare for a mammogram?

There is no need to change your normal routine prior to your mammogram. However, do not use deodorant, talcum powder or any other cream or ointment on your breasts or underarms before the exam to ensure that the mammogram is not obscured.

Wear a two-piece outfit since you will need to undress above the waist for the exam.

IMPORTANT! Please bring any previous mammograms with you. The radiologist will need to compare your current study to your previous mammograms.

What is a Bone Density Scan?

Also called Bone Density Scanning, DEXA enables the radiologist to assess the bone mineral status of the spine, hip and other skeletal sites to confirm bone loss.

This scan is most often used for Osteoporosis Screening.

How do I prepare for a DEXA Scan

No preparation neccessary