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What to Expect

What to Expect

The MRI machine looks like a giant tube and is open on both ends.

You will be asked to lie down on a table that slides into the opening of the tube. The MRI creates a powerful magnetic field around you, and radio waves are directed at your body. Because of the powerful magnetic field, you will be asked to remove all metal from your clothing and hair. The procedure is painless, and you don’t feel the magnetic field or the radio waves.

During the MRI

During the MRI, the magnet makes repetitive tapping sounds like a rocket ship. You will be given earphones to listen to music or a movie.

Click here to read more about Pluto the astronaut.

There is a screen above you

You will see pictures, a movie, or a task that the researchers ask you to do. During the functional part of the MRI, you may be asked to perform small tasks such as tapping your fingers or speaking out loud. This helps the researchers pinpoint the part of your brain that controls these actions. The special earphones you will be wearing allow you to hear the voice of the MRI technologist, as well as hear your movie or music.

The technologist will monitor you

And talk to you during the scan by microphone. They will be able to hear you as well. You will also be given a special emergency squeeze button; this can be used if you feel like you absolutely cannot continue with the scan.

About an hour

A research MRI typically lasts about an hour. You must try to hold as still as possible because any movement can blur the images.