Being told that you need an MRI scan can be scary, and that’s completely natural. It doesn’t mean, however, that the process has to be stressful and full of unknown factors. Today, we’ll be walking you through some things you should know before getting an MRI scan so that when your appointment rolls around, you’re well prepared and not as concerned as you otherwise might have been. 


What Is an MRI Machine?

Knowledge is a powerful ally in alleviating fear, so the first thing you’ll want to do is find out what an MRI machine is. Put simply, an MRI machine is a magnetic piece of medical equipment that will scan your body, revealing the presence (or absence) of certain conditions. 


The procedure is not a dangerous one – you simply lie still and it’ll be over before you know it. However, it can be noisy and depending on the body part being scanned, you may be in a confined space. So, it’s worth learning some calming breathing exercises before you go.


What Safety Procedures Do You Have to Follow?

While some basics carry across all locations, no matter the reason for your scan (more on those below), your clinic may have specific requirements. You will usually be told about these at the time of booking, and your technician will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. So, don’t be afraid to ask – there are no silly questions when it comes to your health. 


Do You Have to Fast for an MRI?

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In most cases, an MRI scan will not require the patient to fast prior to assessment. You should also be able to continue taking your regular medications without any interference. We do, however, strongly recommend checking with your technician as although this is generally the case, it will depend on your unique circumstances. Please note that you may also have to exercise control over when you go to the bathroom.


Do Piercings, Metal Implants, or Tattoos Affect an MRI?

Because an MRI machine is a magnet, you will need to remove any piercings prior to your assessment. This point is non-negotiable as they will quite literally be ripped from your body if you don’t follow protocol. You will also need to let your doctor know if you have any metal implants in your body and most likely will not be able to have an MRI scan if this is the case. 


The ink in some tattoos (particularly those that are dark blue or black in pigment) can sometimes also cause issues, so it is important to tell your technician about any that you have. This will not necessarily exclude you from being able to have an MRI but precautions may need to be taken.


Can You Wear Make-Up When Getting an MRI Scan?

Finally, it should be noted that wearing make-up is not advisable when going for your scan. Much like the pigment in some tattoo inks, make-up can also cause issues depending on the type. 


Because there is no guaranteed way of knowing that your make-up will not be an issue during your scan, you are better off simply not wearing any. You should also notify your technician if you have had any cosmetic tattooing

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MRI scans are far from fun, but they are an important diagnostic tool that can help ensure that you get the best medical care possible. When getting ready for your appointment, remember the points in this article and try not to stress. The test itself really isn’t scary as long as you’re prepared.