5 Tips to Prepare for an MRI Scan

5 Tips to Prepare for an MRI ScanAfter going through more than 20 MRIs and a lot of trial and error, I've learned to prepare for MRI scans in as efficient and comfortable a manner as possible!  

Since MRI scans are a challenge in and of themselves, I hope these tips will make it stress-free leading up to the MRI scan.

 5 Tips to Prepare for an MRI Scan


Before the MRI scan, an IV will be put into your arm to administer the contrast.  I've had many instances where the IV insertion was difficult because the nurse could not find my veins.  That was not fun! 

To avoid this problem, the night before the scan, I drink a few cups of water to make sure I am well hydrated.  This makes the veins larger so the IV will go in easily.  Depending on the time of the scan, I then drink another 2-4 cups of water before the scan. 

5 Tips to Prepare for an MRI Scan, Drink several cups of water


The MRI machine consists of very powerful magets that will pull anything that is magnetic into the scanner. If you want to wear your own clothes during the scan, don't wear anything with metal.

Make sure there is no metal in your underwear, jewelry, hair accessories, clothes and shoes.  

  • OK in scanner: wedding rings

  • Take off before scan: watches, glasses (can be placed in the MRI room)

Note: I just learned that some anti-microbial clothing is not allowed in the MRI as it may interfere with the imaging.

 5 Tips to Prepare for an MRI Scan, wear no metal


If you prefer to change into the scrubs that are usually provided during MRI scans, wear clothes that you can easily change in and out of.

5 Tips to Prepare for an MRI Scan, Dress to change easily


If you are eating a meal before the MRI, eat a light meal or eat 1-2 hours before the scan.  When I've had a MRI on a full stomach, I felt very uncomfortable during the scan.  It's not fun, trust me.

5 Tips to Prepare for an MRI Scan, Eat a light meal before


Go to the bathroom immediately BEFORE the scan.  The head MRI I get usually lasts for about an hour - with no bathroom breaks! If you are being scanned for a larger area, it could be quite a long scan.

5 Tips to Prepare for an MRI Scan, go to the bathroom before

Now you're ready for the MRI scan!