Why MRI?Because of my persistently right-sided migraines, the ENT doctor sent a message to my primary care doctor recommending an MRI. The CT scan of my sinuses was unimpressive to him, revealing only a mucus-filled cyst (affectionately named Pete)...
From Mayo Clinic:
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a technique that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues within your body.
Getting ReadyIt's probably best if you plan ahead and take off any jewelry at home. I don't want to think about what would happen if you forgot about that tongue ring or something and went inside of a giant magnet, but I bet it isn't that fun. I went into a little dressing room and got into scrubs, which were gigantic, and put all jewelry, clothes, including undergarments into the locker.
Are You Claustrophobic?They asked me a number of times. I laid down on a table and they put a wedge under my knees. Then they had me put in ear plugs, and there was this cage-like thing for my head called a head coil, plus more ear coverings. They gave me a ball to squeeze if I needed anything and assured me they would be in constant contact with me. They also gave me a warm blanket and I went into the MRI machine head first, up to my legs I think.
She would get on the speaker and tell me how many minutes I had to hold still. Then it was like a fire or tornado alarm, a fairly loud alarm like beep plus pounding. For some reason I must have found this comforting, because I kept falling asleep. I also kept feeling like I needed to cough or swallow because that's just what happens when I'm told I have to keep still.
Contrast DyeAfter a few of those sessions she said, "Okay now I'm going to come in and give you the contrast dye." I was alarmed because I didn't know I was getting contrast dye. Suddenly I wondered if I was deathly allergic and this was going to be it for me. She assured me that it was safe and that it would stay in my body for 24-48 hours, and that if I experienced any discomfort I should increase my fluid intake.
It was an IV in my arm and back into the MRI for more beeping, pounding and falling asleep. I thought I was going to be so nervous, but the truth is I was incredibly warm and comfortable in the enclosed space with all the beeping and banging.
The whole thing took a little over an hour.
Afterward I had a terrible, unrelenting headache for the rest of the day, but all in all it wasn't bad.