An MRI scan uses a powerful magnet, radiofrequency waves, and a computer to create cross-sectional images of internal organs and structures. It does not use ionizing radiation as X-ray and CT scans do. You must be free of metal for your test, including all jewelry and piercings. The scanner resembles a large tube with a table in the middle, allowing the patient to slide in. You can expect most of your body to go inside the MRI scanner. If you have claustrophobia, a fear of confined spaces, please discuss with your Doctor prior to your MRI appointment.
What can I expect? How long does it take?
- Upon arrival to the MRI department you will be asked to fill out a safety screening questionnaire
- You will also be asked to change into hospital clothing to help ensure you are free of metal before entering the scanner room. This includes the removal of all jewelry and piercings
- Please provide any information on any devices that may be implanted on your person (i.e. pacemaker, stent)
- How long your MRI will take depends on what area we are scanning – you can expect to be in the department anywhere from 30 min to 2 hours
- Your Doctor may have requested a scan where the Radiologist deemed it necessary to have oral contrast (a drink) before your scan. This is most common with bowel imaging
- Our Radiologist reading the MRI may also ask for you to have an injection for the scan. It is a special dye (contrast media) that is used to improve how we see blood vessels, organs and other structures. This will require a small intravenous (IV) to inject the contrast through for the scan. The Technologist preparing you for your procedure will explain this further to you
- You will be provided with hearing protection as the MRI is very loud
- The Technologists strive to start each scan on time, but emergency patients and other unforeseen events may cause a delay
- Diabetic Devices: Diabetic devices including glucose sensors and insulin pumps can be damaged by X-rays, radiation and magnetic fields. Glucose sensors and insulin pumps must be removed immediately prior to your test. Insulin pumps may be restarted following the test. Glucose sensors cannot be reinserted – you must use a new sensor following the test. If you would prefer to reschedule your test, please let us know. For any questions regarding your device, please contact the manufacturer of your device.
Outpatient MRI scans are by pre-booked appointment only. Please check your booking closely to ensure which campus you are scheduled at and at what time of day (am vs. pm) as MRI operates 24 hours per day. A booking notification will go to your requesting Doctor, this will include any necessary prep instructions.
Is it your child coming for a test?
The Child Life Program strives to meet the psychosocial and emotional needs of children and youth throughout their health care journeys. They help them adjust to and understand hospitalization, medical procedures, illness and injury. They are commonly involved with procedures such as MRI Scans.