A UF Radiation Oncology staff member will contact you before your appointment to go over all instructions and answer any questions that you may have. If you are a new patient, please review our New Patient Checklist, found here. Below are answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about MR Simulation to help you prepare for your scan.
I have metal implants – can I receive a scan?
A staff member will review an MRI safety screening form and your medical history with you prior your appointment. While patients with metallic implants can be at risk for injury from the scanner’s magnet, many implants can be scanned safely. Patients who require a scan of the brain or head should not wear make-up to avoid those brands that might contain metal.
What about implanted medical devices?
Like metal implants, certain devices may be hazardous to you and/or may interfere with the MR procedure. These include pacemakers, spinal cord stimulators, insulin pumps, metallic stents, and medication patches. The MRI safety screening form will provide a list of these devices and a staff member will review them with you.
Should I keep taking my medications?
Please continue to take your medications unless otherwise instructed. Some MRI-guided procedures do require you to stop taking your medicine prior to your procedure; however, a staff member will inform you if this is the case. Metformin is typically stopped for 48 hours after administering IV contrast.
Can I eat or drink before the scan?
Most MRI exams do not require you to fast. Before an abdominal scan, however, you will be asked not to eat or drink 4-6 hours before your appointment. This will prevent undigested food from obscuring the results. Other exams may require you to drink oral contrast when you arrive.
When should I arrive?
Please arrive early to allow time for a review of our safety screening questions, the completion of any required paperwork, placement of an IV (if needed), and changing into a hospital gown.
What should I wear?
Comfortable clothing is recommended; however, you will be able to access our private changing area to change into a hospital gown and store your clothing and belongings in a secure locker. Please be prepared to leave your cell phone, credit cards, and metallic items such as jewelry, dentures, eyeglasses, or hearing aids in your locker or with anyone who may accompany you. Valuables should not be brought to your appointment. Patients who require a scan of the brain or head should not wear make-up to avoid those brands that might contain metal.
Will intravenous (IV) contrast dye be used?
An oral or intravenous (IV) contrast dye may be used for treatment planning. It is generally recommended not to have anything to drink one hour before your appointment prior to the ingestion of oral contrast dye, and you will also be asked to arrive early.
If you are receiving IV contrast dye, you will be asked questions before your appointment to determine if you have a history of kidney disease, diabetes, lupus, multiple myeloma, or other conditions. Some patients may need a blood test to check their kidney function first.
What happens during an MR Simulation scan?
Most scans used for radiation therapy planning take approximately 20-60 minutes to complete and you will need to lie very still during this time.
After check-in, the Radiation Therapist will bring you to the MR Simulator, where he or she will assist you into position on the patient table so that the area being imaged is centered in the MRI cylinder. You will receive earplugs or headphones to lessen the knocking noise the scanner makes when operating. A squeeze ball will allow you to contact the technologist in the observation area at any time.
You will be constantly monitored through an observation window, with cameras, and via an intercom system, which the technologist will use to update you on what is happening.