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Preparing for an MRI

I had an MRI the other day , this was my 3rd or 4th one I’ve had so I thought I’d take the time to write a little bit about what to expect & how to prepare if you have an MRI. It really isn’t as anxiety provoking as you think it may be!

The below advice is just my experience & I assume it depends on your scan & what it’s for/ whose doing it!

About MRI’s:

MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging.

Doctors only request MRI scans when absolutely necessary.

According to NHS guidelines it can last 15-90 minutes. Mine have usually taken 20-30mins

They can do lots of different types of scan & may do multiple scans in one sitting.


This is like any normal appointment you’ll sit in the waiting room & they’ll call your name. They might take your height and weight (I always ask them not to tell me mine!) Don’t worry about doing any kind of prep for the MRI unless they’ve asked you to!

What to wear:

They’ll ask you to take all your metal jewellery, belts, earrings, bras etc off so if you have difficult piercings like a belly bar or helix piercing maybe take them out at home to save you stressing before not being able to get them out

You sometimes have to wear one of those beautiful gowns, so I’d say wear something quick and easy to get on and off – underwired bras may need to come off too- depending on what body parts are going on the mri scanning machine!

The experience:

MRI’s with Tourette’s are a bit more stressful you have to stay really really still!

You’ll lie down on the bed and get given little rubber earbuds to protect your ears from the noise then ear defenders to wear on top. You’ll have a panic button on a long cable which you can squeeze at any time if you want to get out the machine.

They will place a plastic cage type cover over your face if you are having a brain scan but it really isn’t as bad as it sounds – closing your eyes can help!

You’ll be moved back slowly by the electronic bed into the donut shaped machine, the medical staff conducting the scans can talk to you about what is happening throughout the whole process.

Sometimes they’ll play music which is quite muffled, others times they don’t, the noises the machine makes can be a little off putting but they’re totally normal! Just effectively a rumbling noise & a high pitch noise- sometimes they can make you feel a bit shaken.

You lie down for quite a while so might need to get up slowly afterwards if you have low blood pressure.

They can be quite uncomfortable so prepare to potentially be in a little bit of pain flare afterwards.

One scan I had early on in the development of my tics, I had to be strapped onto the table (sounds like some kind of horror show but I promise it wasn’t) as my tics could not keep my head still, the staff gave me a mirror which was angled so I could see outside of the MRI machine which really helped me with anxiety.

I hope this has helped you to ease any worries. It really isn’t as bad as you think it is! It’s just super noisy!

Let me know in the comments below if you have any top tips for preparing for an MRI scan!!!


Your typical MRI machine will look something like this. Mine was on a truck!

Your typical MRI machine will look something like this. Mine was on a truck!


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