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MRI with Contrast: How to Prepare and What to Expect

MRI with Contrast: How to Prepare and What to Expect

If your doctor has referred you for an MRI with contrast, your physician likely needs more information to make an informed diagnosis about your condition or to manage a condition you already have. An MRI with contrast provides great detail of your internal organs and soft tissue and can detect disease, infection, and other ailments. 

At REDI Diagnostics Corp in Elmwood Park, New Jersey, our board-certified radiologists perform these types of imaging tests every day. You’re in safe hands. Following are tips on how to prepare and what to expect. 

Preparing for an MRI with contrast

You’ll need to allow plenty of time for your MRI with contrast. The procedure itself usually takes 30-90 minutes but can take longer if you receive the contrast agent orally. Allow time for completing a medical history form, changing your clothes, and talking with the MRI staff prior to your test. 

MRIs have intense magnetic fields, so try to remember to leave all metal jewelry at home. We do provide you with a place to store your valuables and any item that contains metal. You’ll change into a hospital gown for the procedure. 

For many MRIs with contrast, you can eat and drink normally before the test. If the contrast is given orally, you need to stop eating and drinking four hours in advance. We let you know whether there are any restrictions on food or drink before your test. 

We ask you to complete a medical history form with questions about any metal in your body, including tattoos with metal ink. 

Let us know in advance if you’re claustrophobic. You may need to take a sedative or anti-anxiety medication before your procedure. Our modern MRI machines help ease anxiety if you’re claustrophobic. 

Unless the test is on your brain, a wide-bore design allows you to keep your head outside the machine. Open MRI machines don’t enclose your body and are open on the sides. 

What to expect during an MRI with contrast 

You receive a contrast agent that contains a rare metal and is totally safe. The contrast agent is administered either through an IV placed in a vein, orally, or injected intra-articularly into a joint with X-ray guidance. 

If you receive an injection, your provider numbs the site to alleviate discomfort. The contrast agent helps delineate the joints, tissue, and/or organs about which your doctor has questions. 

You’ll be given headphones that reduce noise but allow you to communicate with our MRI staff during the test. We ask you to lie completely still during the MRI. 

You’ll hear some loud noises as the test progresses. Your provider may ask you to hold your breath for several seconds a few times during the procedure. You can press a button to let your provider know you need a minute to rest during the test if you feel uncomfortable. 

After the MRI, you need to drink an adequate amount of water over the next couple of days to flush the dye out of your body. If you have any abnormal symptoms such as shortness of breath, call your doctor. 

We know you and your doctor want to receive your results with no delay, so our radiologists provide a report to your doctor quickly. 

Call REDI Diagnostics Corp or book an appointment online today if you have an order for an MRI with contrast. We help your provider find answers to troubling symptoms. 

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