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Can I drink alcohol before my MRI?

Usually yes, provided you haven't been given specific instructions that prohibit it. Some tests require you to be NPO (ie. no eating or drinking) and so in that case you obviously would not want to drink during that period. Call ahead to inquire about your particular test.

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Can I listen to my iPod, iPhone or other MP3 player during my MRI scan?

Your music player would be destroyed if it entered the MRI scanner. However, at some facilities you can have the techs dock your MP3 player to the stereo system and play it over their system. Call ahead to inquire.

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Can I bring a CD to listen to during the scan?

Many facilities offer music for their patients using specially designed MRI compatible headphones and stereo systems. If the facility offers such a system you can usually have a personal CD played. Some MRI exams do not allow the use of the stereo system however. Call ahead to inquire.

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I'd like to try an open MRI scanner. How do I go about finding one?

Almost any MRI facility can tell you how to find an open MRI scanner and will be glad to put you in contact with them. If they do not own one they will tell you where the nearest one is.

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Why does the MRI have to be so loud?

It has to do with the way the images are acquired. The coils of wire inside the scanner (gradient coils) are activated and deactivated very rapidly throughout the scan to change the shape of the magnetic field. This creates the loud knocking, buzzing, banging sounds you hear during your test. GE and Siemens have now both introduced "silent" scans to the market. These scans are virtually indistinguishable from the background noise in the scan room. These wonderful advancements are not currently very widespread so they may be difficult to find. Call your local MRI center and inquire. They may be able to direct you to a facility if they don't have it themselves.

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I have a metal implant. Can I have an MRI?

It depends on the particular implant you have and type of MRI system used. Call ahead to verify with the facility where you will be having the test. Some implants are unsafe for MRI and you don't want to waste your time getting all the way to imaging center before find that out. Be sure to have as many details as possible (Make/Model/Implant date) about your implant before contacting the MRI department as this will speed up the process of verifying the saftey of the implant.

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I have dental fillings in my teeth. Can I still have an MRI?

Yes, standard dental fillings do not pose any known safety hazard with an MRI.

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How much radiation do I get from an MRI?

There is no Xray radiation (ionizing radiation) at all. There is Radio Frequency energy which is a type of electomagnetic radiation (it is similar to FM radio waves which are all around us).

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Is a an MRI the same as a CAT scan (CT scan)?

No, although the machines have a similar circular shape there are many differences. An MRI (in addition to being longer) uses magnetism and radio frequency waves to acquire the images. A CT scan uses ionizing radiation and is usually much faster at acquiring images.

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Do you recommend any other websites to help with claustrophobia?

Dr. David A.Carbonell, Ph.D. has an excellent website with a lot of useful information. His resource page is a particularly useful starting point for your research: http://www.anxietycoach.com/resources.htm. Also check our resources page for some ideas.

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