Behind the Scenes: MRI

By Thomas White


Having an MRI can be an anxiety-inducing moment in one’s life. We want to ensure that all patients have a positive and safe experience when having their MRIs.


It starts from the moment a patient arrives at our department and registers for their exam.

Every patient fills out an MRI screening form that requests pertinent health history before their scan. The goal of this form is to ensure that all patients are safe for the MRI scanner. It also helps the technologists identify which patients may need settings changed on the scanner to safely perform their exam. Not every implant is safe for MRI, and some implants are safe only under certain conditions. We want to place patient safety at the top of the list, starting with identifying what is inside your body.


After reviewing the screening form, a technologist will take the patient to get prepared for the exam. Not all clothing is compatible with an MRI scanner, so we change all patients into a gown prior to their MRI. Any clothing with metal on it or in it has the potential to harm a patient and burn them. Certain athletic wear may have copper or silver embedded in the threads, which can heat up during the MRI and burn a patient.

After the patient has changed into the appropriate gowns for their exam, they will go back to MRI with a technologist. For patients who may have issues walking, we will provide an MRI-safe wheelchair for use during your MRI. The MRI may pull any metal objects, such as wheelchairs, canes, or walkers, into the scanner, which can harm the patient, the scanner, and the technologist performing the exam. To avoid this, we will always use our MRI-safe wheelchair for those who need it.


However, ensuring safety continues even when we get patients in the scan room. We give every patient an alarm button during their exam. If a patient needs to stop an exam or has any questions, they only need to squeeze it, and the technologist will stop the exam and address their concerns. We monitor every patient throughout their exam, from the moment they check in until the moment they leave.


We always put safety at the forefront of what we do in MRI. So, the next time you come in for a scan and are asked to fill out a screening form or to change into a gown, remember that it is for your safety. You can relax knowing that we are doing everything possible to maintain your safety throughout the entire process of your MRI here at Woodlawn Hospital.


Thomas White is an MRI Technologist at Woodlawn

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