Your doctor or the MRI technician will ask you some questions before a chest MRI, including:
Your answers will help your doctor decide whether you should have a chest MRI.
Items Not Allowed in the MRI Room
Your doctor or technician will ask you to not wear or bring metal or electronic objects into the MRI room. These include:
MRI magnets can damage these objects, and they can interfere with the MRI machine.
The MRI Machine
An MRI machine looks like a long, narrow tunnel. During the MRI, you lie on your back on a sliding table. The table passes through the scanner as it takes pictures of your chest. Newer machines are shorter and wider and don’t completely surround you; others are open on all sides.
Tell your doctor if you’re afraid of tight or closed spaces. He or she may give you medicine to help you relax or find you a place that has an open MRI machine.
If you do receive medicine to relax you, your doctor may ask you to stop eating about 6 hours before you take it. This medicine may make you tired, so you’ll need to arrange for a ride home after the test.
Your doctor may give you a special substance (called contrast dye) before the MRI. This dye allows the MRI to take more detailed pictures of the structures in your chest.
The contrast dye will be injected into a vein in your arm. You may feel some discomfort where the needle is inserted. You also may have a cool feeling as the dye is injected.
The contrast dye used in a chest MRI doesn’t contain iodine, so it won’t create problems for people who are allergic to iodine. Rarely, people develop allergic symptoms from the dye, such as hives and itchy eyes. If this happens, your doctor will give you medicine to relieve the symptoms.
If you’re breast-feeding, ask your doctor how long you need to wait after the test before you breast-feed. The contrast dye can be passed to your baby through your breast milk.
You may want to prepare for the test by pumping and saving milk for 24 to 48 hours in advance. You can bottle-feed your baby in the hours after the test.