If you need digital x-ray imaging, you may be worried about the process. MRIs are loud, enclosed and can create feelings of claustrophobia. Fortunately, more and more providers are offering open MRIs. Open MRIs are as effective as traditional MRIs at diagnosing injuries, disease, and tumors without the drawbacks.

What To Expect During an Open MRI

Open MRIs are a particularly good choice for children, larger adults, and individuals that are nervous about undergoing the traditional MRI testing. Talk to your digital x-ray imaging provider to see if they offer open MRI options.

Preparing for your MRI

You do need to relax and remain still during the MRI, so it makes sense to avoid caffeine or alcohol before your procedure. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing, but be prepared to change into a hospital gown if needed. Remove any jewlery or other metal before the procedure. If you feel you will have trouble relaxing during the procedure, ask if you can bring your own music, audiobook or other form of distraction.

You may have to ingest or be injected with a contrast material before the procedure. Depending on the testing being done, adding contrast can make it easier to make a diagnosis, as it enhances the clarity of the images produced. Once you are ready for the procedure to begin you will lay on a bed that will be moved into the machine. The technictian will place a coil around or over the area of the body that is being viewed.

While the MRI is working you will hear thumping noises from the machine. This is normal. Try to relax and remain as still as possible during the procedure. You should expect the entire process to last less than an hour.

Once the procedure is complete, you can immediately resume normal activities. There is no downtime associated with an MRI. If you were given contrast solution, increase your water intake to help flush it from your system. The technician will forward your MRI results to your doctor, who will discuss the diagnosis with you.