A magnetic resonance imaging scan uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues within the body.

That is a mouthful!

To me, an MRI is lying on a table, listening to a drum performance in my head for 45-60 minutes.

The first MRI I received was to find out if I had scar tissue in my brain from Multiple Sclerosis. I don’t consider myself to be a claustrophobic person, but it is understandable why many people are. If you have never experienced one here is my description.

You enter a medical room that is cold, brightly lit making loud ticking noises, with a large machine with a hole in the middle and a bed protruding out on one end. You are instructed to lay on the bed putting your head towards the machine. There is a plastic form that you insert your head into while the technician puts ear plugs in each ear, followed by headphones and a cage over your face. There is a small mirror inside the cage that allows you to see your feet and the window where the technician sits during the procedure. Once you are moved into the machine, for the next 40 minutes or so, a series of extremely loud knocks and ticks bombard your head. 

The tech will talk to you making sure you are handling it ok. If your physician has requested contrast, an IV will administer it and then slide you in for another round of beautiful racket. Some patients will experience a warmth in the body or a metallic taste in the mouth following the contrast IV.

In the last 20 years I have received more than a dozen MRI’s. They are annoying but relatively harmless. 

During one exam, several years ago, I actually drifted off to sleep and the tech asked me if I could stay awake long enough to get a decent reading, as each time I fell asleep my body would jump and jerk. LOL

An MRI is only one of the tools that a Neurologist will use to diagnose and follow the disease progression of MS.