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MRI Diagnostic Test 101

What Happens During An MRI Test

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An MRI is a large machine that looks like a donut with a hole in the middle.

When you first see the machine, a metal table juts into the room from the machine.

A technician will help place you on a movable table which has supports to help keep you from moving around. He or she will explain what will happen. Namely, the table will be moved into the machine.

You will be asked to stay still during the entire test. Staying still is crucial to a successful test. If you move, the test will have to be repeated. The machine is extremenly susceptible to motion. 

You will be given a "panic button" to push or a microphone to speak into if you feel you need to be brought out of the machine at any time. You will also be given earphones or plugs to reduce the noise level. (MRI machines are very noisy). Some testing facilities pipe music through the earphones. 

The test iteslf is very noisy - with various noises at different volumes occurring at different phases during the test. Sometimes there is silence between the noises. (In case you're wondering, the noise is caused by three pair of gradiants that spatially encode data and boost the magnification of the magnets).

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