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A closed MRI machine is large and looks like a hollow, cylinder-shaped tube surrounded by a circular magnet. You will be asked to change into a hospital gown and to remove all jewelry, earrings, piercings, or other metal objects. Caregivers will help you lie on a moveable examination table that slides into the center of the magnet. The body part being tested may be kept in place with a cradle or straps to hold it very still. Your caregiver will sit behind a window during the MRI scan; however, your caregiver will be able to see, hear, and speak with you at all times.
You must lie very still during the scan. If you move, the MRI scan pictures may not be clear. Your primary care physician may order you a mild sedative if you are claustrophobic (afraid of closed spaces), have a hard time staying still, or have chronic pain. You will hear very loud banging noises during the series of scans. The noise is caused by the magnets moving. You will be given earplugs or ear muffs to help soften the noise of the MRI machine.
Some MRI examinations require the administration of intravenous contrast material to help your body part show up better in the pictures. The contrast material is put through an intravenousline (IV) started in a vein in your hand or arm.