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going for an MRI - what should I expect?

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Old 05-12-2007, 06:36 AM   #1
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cas29 HB User
going for an MRI - what should I expect?

I'm going for an MRI of my head in a few weeks.
It is in part as a routine check up because I had a brain tumour which was removed and I am being monitored.

I'm going to have one with contrast dye.

I've had CT scans, and I imagine it is very similar.
For my CT scans just my head went into the machine - is it the same for the MRI?
Is the contrast dye the same as for the CT scan? If it is different does it create similar sensations - like a wave of heat?

Any tips would be appreciated. I am not very worried, I have been clear for a long time (17 years) I just like to know what to expect before I go.

Thank you

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Old 05-12-2007, 01:45 PM   #2
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Dizzymoo HB User
Re: going for an MRI - what should I expect?

Hiya hun,

I had an mri scan on thursday for my head, the mri scanner is a huge machine,it looks quite scary,but dont panic! it isnt that bad...You basically go in a very very narrow tunnel, the ceiling is very close to your face and at first it feels very clastraphobic but it is best to close your eyes! The machine is amazingly noisy,im in no way exaggerating either, but you do get to take a cd with you and they will play it for you through some special ear phones..altho to be honest half the time i couldnt hear the music lol from all the is quite comfy tho,well apart from the noise! as for the dye, i cant help you as i didnt have that... i wish you all the luck in the world, and congrats on beating such a terrible illness!!

im pretty sure i have a brain tumor...which is why i had an mri scan,and i am so scared!! i have to wait a week for results tho.

any reason why your worried it has come back? Are you having symptoms or anything? or is it just pure anxiety?

Good luck and dont worry,i managed to have an mri scan and im scared of hospitals,and im getting over agraphobia! so you can do it to xxxxx

Old 05-12-2007, 02:09 PM   #3
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Re: going for an MRI - what should I expect?

Thanks so much for sharing your experience.
I don't know if they will play a cd for me, but I'll bring one in case.
I'm glad to know it is so close to your face... I'll practice my relaxation and breathing techniques.

I'm really sorry to hear you think you have a tumour. I've been through a lot in my life,but I swear, the brain tumour was the most terrifying.
This is partly my "last" check up... the drs say that if I haven't had anything return by now the chances are pretty much nil that I'll have problems in the future.
However, about 2 weeks ago I had occular migraines and they terrified me.
I had blind spots and fractured vision - they were about 10 days apart and lasted about 20 minutes. I had no headache, but an "aura" of light and as I said, blind spots.
I managed to get in to see my eye dr right away ( I had a detached retina at the end of 2005, which required surgery (and was very successfully treated)) she did a complete test on me, but knowing my history suggested that while I did not need to be in any panic about it, having the mri would probalby reassure me.

My tumour was in the frontal lobe, removed within 2 weeks of finding it (that was terrifying in itself!) and they got it all. I didn't have to have any chemo or radiation.
So, while I've had some rough times, I've also been remarkably blessed in the outcomes.

When do you get your mri results?
I say a prayer for your peace of mind, and that whatever your problem is, it is treated quickly and successfully.

Old 05-12-2007, 03:34 PM   #4
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Re: going for an MRI - what should I expect?

Hi cas29
I think i might have answered one of your posts on the eye board. Well in any case, as the other poster said it can be very loud and tight in that tube, for the MRI.
I had a bain tumor removed in December and have had countless MRI's, with and without dye. This dye seems to be different from the one they use for the ct scans. I never had any sensations from the MRI dye, that I can recall.
I'm guessing the are the same in Italy as they are in the USA, although don't know for sure.
If they don't let you listen to music, they will give you earplugs to buffer the noise. It is still loud, but tolerable. ANd I have to agree with the other poster, much better to keep your eyes shut the whole time as it is very close in there.
Those ocular migrains are pretty common so don't jump to any conclusions on those. I started getting them about 5 years ago due to hormonal changes. I noticed light glare would trigger them most times. I found that taking magnesium seems to keep them away though!
Good luck and hope the MRI results are perfect!

Old 05-12-2007, 03:40 PM   #5
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Bearygood HB UserBearygood HB User
Re: going for an MRI - what should I expect?

Hi, cas. I wanted to share some tips in case they might help. When I went to have my first MRI I thought "no big deal" and then when I got in the room I couldn't go through with it and bailed! Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd be such a big chicken or feel claustrophic but I was/did! Here's what worked for me and I'm now 2 MRIs down with (at least) 1 more to go.

At the suggestion of the facility, I DID call my primary care doc and get a valium prescription which I filled (and took) before I went back. My doctor also suggested that I ask if they had refractor glasses -- I don't think they call them the same thing everywhere but they're kind of like prisms so if you do open your eyes you don't see the tube right above you; it tricks your eyes so you only see both openings at either end. The first mistake I made that freaked me out was that against the (unsolicited!) advice of someone coming out of the room who had just had her MRI and said "Close your eyes before you go in", I DID in fact open my eyes! She was right. I closed my eyes before they rolled me in both times and it was okay.

I think that most places nowadays will play a CD of your choosing. That was a choice for me and they usually have their own stash as well. However, I opted for no music -- the sounds actually comforted me in a way because I knew that something was happening. I'm just better not feeling "lost in space"! I also ask not how long I'll be in there but how many pictures they're taking. Again, just makes me feel like there's movement when I hear the sounds. They ARE loud but for me I find them comforting -- well, as comforting as you CAN feel, LOL! I go into a meditative state and kind of pretend I'm in the middle of a drum circle.

It's so screwy -- I mean, you KNOW you're in safe hands and both ends are open with plenty of air so what's the big deal? Anyway, that's what works for me the chicken. Valium, no music, the prism glasses and closing my eyes BEFORE they roll me in and not opening them until they roll me out! At the end of the day, it's about knowing what works for you -- and who knows, maybe you'll be one of the people for whom it's a breeze! Re: the dye, I had contrast just one of the times and I personally experienced it more as a cool sensation...

The films and radiologist's reports are usually delivered to your doctor within 3 days but if they're on the same hospital network or hooked up to the facility by computer, possibly the next day.

Good luck to you -- hope it's a breeze! Dizzy, hope everything works out okay for you as well.

Last edited by Bearygood; 05-12-2007 at 03:42 PM.

Old 05-13-2007, 03:06 AM   #6
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cas29 HB User
Re: going for an MRI - what should I expect?

Hi Hellasrules, yes you have answered my posts in the eye forum - I'm so sorry to hear you have had a brain tumour too -- you've really had a lot to deal with over the years. Are you doing well now? Thanks for all the info on your mri experience.

Bearygood - thank you too! I'm a tad claustrophobic so yup, I'll be following your advice. I hope you are doing well too.

The test is scheduled for 8 June, so I'll also be honing my relaxation strategies. I used to be really good at it (I've fallen asleep in the dentist's chair if you can believe it! )

Thank you all so much - your support is greatly appreciated.

Old 05-13-2007, 06:17 AM   #7
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Bearygood HB UserBearygood HB User
Re: going for an MRI - what should I expect?

LOL, cas -- if you've fallen asleep in the dentist's chair, I'm sure you have NOTHING to worry about! Sounds like your biggest decision might be whether or not you want to hear the noises or have headphones on. Like I said, I DO, but be forewarned they are loud and a tad weird -- they can range from vibrating to thumping!

Yup, if you're a tad claustrophic do close your eyes before you go in and keep 'em closed -- ask for prism/refractor glasses if you think you're going to feel compelled to cheat.

Good luck!

Old 05-13-2007, 01:29 PM   #8
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Re: going for an MRI - what should I expect?

It will pretty much go an normal.
If it is anything like mine you will do 2/3 of the MRI without the Dye and then they will take you out of the machine and insert the Dye into your hand. When I did it my entire hand all the way to my shoulder was cold but that is probably because of the temperture and nothing else.

From about your hips up will be inside of the machine.
My toes always get really cold inside the room cause I was in the room for about 1/2 hour so I suggest warm socks

Hope everything goes well

Old 05-13-2007, 02:10 PM   #9
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cas29 HB User
Re: going for an MRI - what should I expect?

All the way to my hips! argh....... eyes closed for sure, from the start.
I tend to get cold too - for my ct scans though, they always have covered me with a blanket.

I think I tend to stress a bit before because I have to do it all in Italian. By now, truly, my Italian is more than up to this kind of situation, but you know how it is, in a new situation with a bit of stress it is easy to misunderstand, even in your own language.

thanks again everyone.

buona notte!

Old 06-08-2007, 10:10 AM   #10
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cas29 HB User
Re: going for an MRI - what should I expect?

Had my mri today.
Thanks to your input I was well prepared.

They didn't offer to play music for me.... (I was not surprised!) but they did give me a "panic button" to press in case anything felt very wrong, which was comforting.

I closed my eyes before I even got into the machine, and didn't open them even when they pulled me out to inject the contrast dye.

Even with knowing that it would be noisy I was really surprised at HOW noisy it was! They put some foam around the sides of my head which acted as "mufflers", but wow....... what a racket.

Nonetheless, I almost did fall asleep lol...... I guess I've had some good relaxation training eh?

I get my results next week. This was "just" a check-up, so I don't really expect any startling news ---- but of course I'm praying that I don't get any surprises!

Thanks to everyone for all your kind replies.

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