3 Misconceptions About MRI Scans

Posted on: 12 April 2018

Doctors have plenty of tools available to allow them to look at your body inside and out, including MRI scans. MRIs are one of the most effective ways for a doctor to look at what's happening inside your body, but there is a lot of misinformation about what getting an MRI is like for the patient. Here are three common misconceptions about MRIs, debunked.

1. It's Painfully Noisy

MRIs have a reputation for being loud and noisy. This is actually true! MRI machines make loud banging noises while the scans are running. However, that doesn't mean that your ears will be in pain or your hearing will put at risk while you're being scanned.

MRI technicians provide patients with earplugs before they go in for their scan. Professional-grade earplugs can help to vastly reduce the number of decibels your ears are exposed to. This makes the experience less noisy and eliminates the risk of hearing loss from the sounds the MRI machine makes.

2. You Must Hold Still

Another misconception is that people who are being scanned must hold completely still while the test is being performed. In reality, chances are you've had to hold still for longer to get an x-ray than you'll have to for your MRI.

MRI machines perform scans in multiple bursts of magnetic energy. This means that the test isn't constantly running the entire time you're in the tube. Instead, your technician will let you know when the scan is running. At this moment, you should try and hold still. As soon as the scanner stops, you can make small movements like scratching an itch or adjusting a limb, providing that it isn't what's being scanned.

3. It's Like Being in a Coffin

Lastly, many people fret that an MRI machine is like being in a coffin. While MRI scans are in a small space, they aren't completely enclosed and shouldn't make you feel like you're in a coffin.

Most MRI machines are open on both sides. This allows technicians to scan people in a variety of ways. While you're having the test performed, you should be able to see light coming from the other end of the tube. If you're close enough, you may even be able to look around through the end of the tube.

MRI scans are useful and easy on patients, too. Don't let misconceptions about MRIs concern you. If you're still worried, talk to your doctor or speak with the technician on the day of your scan.