Resources for Scan Subjects & Patients

Before the MRI Examination

Participation in MRI Research

    Participation in a research study in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may include new imaging software and radiofrequency antennae (RF coils). The MRI machine uses a strong magnet and radiofrequency magnetic fields to make images of the inside of the brain and body. The MRI examination does not include X-rays. We hope to learn the best use of this new technology in finding and defining suspected disease or normal anatomy and function.  The results of this examination may be compared with other MR imaging techniques to determine which method is best. Ultimately this type of comparison will be used to design the most efficient and specific way to obtain the type of imaging information we are after. Participation in these research studies is entirely voluntary.

Completion of the Research Study Consent Form

    Enrollment in a IRB-approved research study includes reading and signing the consent form for the specific study in which the participant will be enrolling. This informed consent process is completed prior to the MRI examination. A copy of the consent form is to be given to the scan participant as part of the informed consent process, and the scan participant should keep the form with his/her medical records for future reference as it contains the name and phone number of the Principal Investigator as well as the IRB who approved the study. In some instances, only one consent form is required to be completed for multiple MRI examinations within a single study.

Completion of the MRI Pre-Procedure Screening Form

    The Lucas Center MRI Screening Form is completed on-site by the scan participant on the day of the MRI examination, and using the current screening forms (18_0816) provided at the Lucas Center. The scan participant cannot be taken into nor given entry to the MRI (magnet) room if a screening form has not been completed by the scan participant, and reviewed with the scan participant by the researcher/technologist conducting the MRI examination. A separate MRI screening form is completed before each and every MRI examination. There are no exceptions to this policy. 

    Completing the MRI screening form includes answering questions regarding previous surgeries, biomedical implants and devices located in or on the body (anything that was not present at birth), current and past health condition(s), medication(s) currently being taken, allergies, and pregnancy. Biomedical devices include medication patches, IUDs (intrauterine devices), acupuncture, and dental and cochlear implants. The scan participant should bring all medical cards with them that describe any implants or devices that he/she has in or on his/her body to provide valid, correct information. The scan participants should ask all questions they have regarding screening prior to the MRI examination.

    Any metal items in or on the body can be a potential safety issue for someone undergoing a MRI examination. This includes biomedical devices and implants; metal fragments in the eyes or other organs from welding or working with metal; and bullets, bullet fragments and shrapnel. Tattoos may include ferrous materials in the ink which could result in skin irritation to the area where the tattoo is located. If you have tattooed eyeliner, please notify the researchers with whom you are working as this may be a contraindication to having the MRI examination. Hair extensions may also be a contraindication due to potential risks. Accurate responses are critical to ensure it is safe for the scan subject/patient to undergo the MRI examination as well as to ensure his/her safety during the MRI examination.

Preparing for the MRI Examination

    All jewelry, body piercing, and hair accessories should be left at home if possible as all of these items including watches, hearing aids, and hair pins will be required to be removed before the MRI examination.

    Scan participants will change out of his/her clothing into disposable scrub tops and pants provided at the Lucas Center to be worn during the MRI examination to ensure no heating is experienced in street clothes due to the presence of metal hooks/snaps/buttons and/or material containing special treatments (eg. anti-microbial) or metal components. Any undergarments with metal or material containing special solution treatments (eg. anti-microbial) will be removed as well to ensure no heating is experienced.

Arriving on Time for the MRI Examination

    It is very important that the scan participant arrives on time for his/her scheduled MRI examination. If he/she cannot, the scan participant should call the researcher/technologist or research/clinical coordinator as soon as possible to inform them as early as possible so that other scan participants can be scanned.

    The scan participant should bring maps and directions with him/her to assist in locating the Lucas Center and to find parking. Maps and information can be accessed at this website at the Directions tab. The scan participant should bring additional information for parking at the Stanford Hospital found here in the event that all Lucas Center parking spaces are full.

MRI Contrast Material

   If MRI contrast material is being administered as part of the MRI examination, a creatinine blood test is required within 30 days prior for the following people:

  • age 70 years or older
  • diabetic (insulin and non-insulin dependent types)
  • history of kidney insufficiency/kidney masses/single kidney

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          If the scan participant will be receiving intravenous contrast material for his/her MRI examination, he/she may be asked not to eat solid food for 4 to 8 hours before the MRI examination.

Claustrophobic Scan Subjects & Patients

    If the scan participant suffers from claustrophobia, he/she cannot take or be given Valium, Xanax or other similar medications for MRI examinations at the Lucas Center. The scan participant should notify the researcher/technologist or research/clinical coordinator with their concerns well in advance of the date of the MRI examination.

During the MRI Examination

    The MRI scanner is a large, cylindrical-shaped tube that is open in the front and in the back. Some scan participants may feel anxious inside the MRI scanner but every thing will be done to make the examination as comfortable as possible. The scan participant will be positioned either on their back or on their abdomen depending upon which area of the body is being scanned. The area of the body being scanned will be placed within a radio-frequency (RF) coil which receives the MRI signal. Sponge pads will be positioned around the body/head and under the arms to ensure immobilization and comfort. Blankets and increased/reduced airflow will be provided to maintain a comfortable temperature for the scan participant while in the MRI scanner.

    The MRI scanner makes a loud noise during the scanning. Therefore, hearing protection will be required to be worn by the scan participant even when headphones are utilized. It is very important that earplugs are positioned properly. The researcher/technologist operating the MRI scanner and scan participant will communicate using an intercom system. A squeeze ball will be provided to the scan participant to be used to contact the researcher/technologist during a scan when it may be difficult to hear communication over the sound of the MRI scanner. The researcher/technologist will maintain constant visual contact with the scan participant during the entire MRI examination.

    It is critical that the scan participant remain very still during the MRI examination to ensure the highest quality scan pictures. If the scan participant experiences difficulty remaining still, please notify the researcher/technologist at the beginning of the examination or at any time during the examination.

    As it states in the Consent form, the scan participant has the right to discontinue participation in the research study at any time, which includes during the MRI examination.

After the MRI Examination

    The scan participant should contact the Principal Investigator or the researcher/technologist who conducted the MRI examination if he/she has any questions. The scan participant should keep their copy of the Consent form with their medical records so they will have a contact name and phone number for future questions.