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If you are a participant in a study we are conducting, you can read below about some common questions and answers that arise before the MRI exam.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive technique that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to generate high-resolution images inside your body. An MRI scan is different from a CT scan or X-ray in that it doesn’t use radiation to produce images.
MRI is considered to be a safe, painless and noninvasive technique. During the procedure you won’t be exposed to any harmful radiation. Since the MRI system uses a strong magnet, there are some important steps we take to keep everyone safe during the session, and we expect your cooperation in following our instructions and procedures.
The MRI scanner has a large tube with openings at both ends. You will lie down on a movable table that slides into the tube. You will have a plastic helmet placed over your head to take MRI pictures. After the table slides into the machine, a member of the research team will get set up in a neighboring room to take several pictures of your brain, each of which will take a few minutes. MRI’s are very sensitive to motion, so you’ll be asked to remain as still as possible during the session in order to maximize the quality of the images.
There will be a microphone and speaker in the machine that allow you to communicate with the research staff. You’ll also be given a squeeze ball so you can alert the researcher at any time that you need their attention.
The MRI scanner will make all sorts of loud noises during the procedure. This is how you’ll know when the images are being collected. You will be offered earplugs or headphones to block out the MRI machine’s noises.
When the scan is completed, a member of the research staff will assist you in getting up from the table, and will let you know if there’s anything else you need to do during the visit.
If you’re interested in participating in a study please contact us for a list of currently active studies for which you might be eligible.
Every study has its own rules for who can participate, but there are some important safety questions you’ll need to answer before we would include you. Most of these questions are about any metal that could be in your body, like from an injury or surgery. There are also some conditions that might keep you from being scanned (e.g., if you are pregnant). Your study team may ask specific questions about your age, your health history and other characteristics that are important for their study goals.
Because MRI uses magnetic waves, metal objects may be a safety hazard or affect the MRI results. Before having an MRI, you will be contacted to disclose any metal objects/implants/devices in your body. You should also inform us if you have any health issues or may be pregnant.
During the MRI you will be asked to lay still inside a large tube. Most people don’t feel uncomfortable being in the tube, but you should inform us if you are claustrophobic.
On the day of the MRI scan, you should avoid putting on extra hair products/accessories and glittery makeup. Some cosmetics, such as eye shadow and hair gels, may contain some metallic components that can interact with MRI magnets.
You should come to the MRI session wearing comfortable clothes. Make sure none of the clothes have any metal fibers (this is unusual but some brands of athletic gear and yoga pants use copper and silver filaments) and you should avoid clothes with large metal embellishments (standard zippers and rivets are ok). If you wear a bra, it should be one without an underwire or heavy metal clasp (usually a sports bra or sleep bra is good). TUBRIC provides private changing areas and alternate clothing if needed. There is a secure locker for your clothes. It is the best, however, to leave valuable items at home.
Clothing materials that are recommended
Clothing materials that are NOT recommended
Potentially prohibited clothing brands
Directions and parking
Upon arrival, you will be asked to fill out a detailed screening form so we will know if you have any metal in your body or any other conditions that would prevent us from running a scan with you. If you haven’t already done so, you’ll also be asked to complete a consent form indicating your willingness to participate in a study.
Before the actual scan, you will be asked to check for and remove any personal belongings that may contain metal (such as watches, belts, jewelry, hairpins, wigs, sunglasses, etc.). We may also ask you to remove clothing items with metallic fasteners, hooks, zippers, loose metallic components or metallic threads (such as underwire bras, Lululemon or other brands labelled antimicrobial that use silver technology). TUBRIC can provide cotton sweats or scrubs for you to change into.
Some studies may be able to give out images, but this is not always the case. You can ask the study team about their rules.
You can eat as normal before your scan, unless there is a special requirement for the research project. It’s ok to drink before your scan, but it’s best if you don’t drink too much and need a bathroom break during the session (we’ll suggest you use the bathroom right before your session).
For brain imaging studies you will be only partially in the machine—about half way down your body.
Some cosmetics contain metals that can interact with MRI magnets. Just to be safe, it’s best if you avoid using products such as hair spray and hair gel, and if you don’t wear heavy makeup or nail polish.
Though it’s somewhat unusual, some tattoos can contain metals that would interact with MRI magnets. You can get a scan at TUBRIC as long as you don’t have any tattoos from the neck up.
Any piercings that you have will need to be removed before we bring you into the MR room. TUBRIC can provide silicone replacement piercings if you are worried about having a hole close up during the session.
The metal in most fillings is not affected by MRI systems and shouldn’t be a problem. Sometimes, retainers, braces and other dental work can distort MR images, but they aren’t typically a safety risk. Our study teams will let you know if they exclude participants with orthodontic work.