At Northwestern Center for Orthopedics we use MRI to examine bones, joints, and soft tissues such as cartilage, muscles, and tendons for injuries, the presence of structural abnormalities or certain other conditions. MRI may be used to assess the results of corrective orthopedic procedures or joint deterioration resulting from arthritis.

How to prepare for an MRI

  • EAT/DRINK: You may eat, drink and take medications as usual.
  • CLOTHING: You must completely change into a patient gown and lock up all personal belongings. A locker will be provided for you to use. Please remove all piercings and leave all jewelry and valuables at home.
  • WHAT TO EXPECT: Imaging takes place inside of a large tube-like structure, open on both ends. You must lie perfectly still for quality images. Due to the loud noise of the MRI machine, earplugs are required and will be provided.
  • ALLERGY: If you have had an allergic reaction to contrast that required medical treatment, contact your ordering physician to obtain the recommended prescription. You will likely take this by mouth 24, 12 and two hours prior to examination.
  • ANTI-ANXIETY MEDICATION: If you require anti-anxiety medication due to claustrophobia, contact your ordering physician for a prescription. Please note that you will need some one to drive you home.
  • STRONG MAGNETIC ENVIRONMENT: If you have metal within your body that was not disclosed prior to your appointment, your study may be delayed, rescheduled or cancelled upon your arrival until further information can be obtained.

Based on your medical condition, we may require other specific preparation.