Going for an MRI, CT Scan Or X-Ray? Here Are Some DOs & DON’Ts

Follow these precautions when you go for medical tests like MRI scan, CT scan and X-Ray. 

Updated30 Aug 2018, 09:01 AM IST
Fit
3 min read

(In light of the faulty hip implant story that exploded recently, we want you as a patient to feel empowered. Whether it is an X Ray or a MRI, or an invasive procedure like hip or knee implants, or even stents, be aware, ask questions and demand answers. Send us your queries at fit@thequint.com.)

Earlier in January 2018, a 32-year-old man died in a government-run hospital in Mumbai while he was accompanying a relative for an MRI scan. What caused the unfortunate incident was a metallic oxygen cylinder he was carrying with him. The hospital staff failed to tell him that no metal objects are allowed inside the MRI room.

You can’t even wear tiny things like rings or earrings when going for an MRI scan, leave alone take a huge cylinder along.

What are more such precautions that need to be taken when you go for medical tests like MRI scan, CT scan and X-Ray? Here are some DOs and DON’Ts to follow.

MRI Scan

For all these tests you may be asked to change into a hospital gown if you’re not wearing metal-free clothing. So, always wear comfortable and loose cotton clothes.

Going for an MRI, CT Scan Or X-Ray? Here Are Some DOs & DON’Ts

The MRI machine has a very strong magnetic force so no metal objects are allowed in and around the machine. Even wearing makeup is not allowed because these cosmetics may contain some metallic traces in them.

These tests require you to be still so request an oral sedative if you think you’ll get a panic attack, are claustrophobic or can’t stay still.

CT Scan

Always disclose your medical history to the doctors or the radiologist. They should know if you are diabetic, pregnant, possibly pregnant, or breastfeeding. During a CT scan, you're briefly exposed to ionizing radiation. If you are pregnant, the doctor may suggest a different exam.

Going for an MRI, CT Scan Or X-Ray? Here Are Some DOs & DON’Ts

And again, no metals are allowed in a CT scan either.

If you are diabetic, you may be asked to have your blood glucose levels as close to 100 mg/dL as possible prior to the test. If your blood sugar is too high, you might have to reschedule the exam.

X-Ray

X-Rays involve a part of your body being exposed to radiation. The amount you are exposed to depends upon your organ or tissue being examined. Radiation exposure from X-Ray is low and considered safe. No metal is the cardinal rule for all these tests.

Going for an MRI, CT Scan Or X-Ray? Here Are Some DOs & DON’Ts

If you’re pregnant, tell your doctor. They may suggest an ultrasound which doesn’t involve any radiations.

Lastly, don’t freak out or be too nervous. These are all very common tests and wouldn’t harm you in any way if you follow the precautions.

(Implants and medical devices can save lives and improve your quality of life. But have you had an experience that left you worse off than before? Share your story. Write to us at fit@thequint.com.)

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Published: 29 Jan 2018, 02:54 PM IST
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