Expert Health Articles

How to "Dress for a Success" & Prepare for an Imaging Exam

Jill Jaynes, RT (R)

Director of Imaging Services
Blanchard Valley Health System

If you have ever had to have an imaging test, you may have been asked to change your clothes, remove jewelry, take out hearing aids, etc. Let’s review how to “dress for success” and other steps you will want to consider prior to arriving for your next imaging exam.

Leave Jewelry at Home

If you are going to have magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) conducted, it is best to leave your jewelry at home. Jewelry will be requested to be removed before entering the exam room. Jewelry will show up when taking an X-ray if it’s in the field of interest. We want to make sure your valuables are safe and protected, and the easiest way to do that is to remove them beforehand. With that said, if you can leave jewelry at home, you won’t have to worry about it during the time of your exam.

Changing into a Gown or Scrubs

For many exams, you will also be asked to change into an exam gown or scrubs. For the safety of patients and staff, all patients completing an MRI exam are asked to change into scrubs. This ensures all metal is removed, and there are no metal shavings or material in your clothing that would degrade the MRI images or cause injury. This also ensures there is nothing left in your pockets that could be magnetic and act as a “missile” when you get close to the MRI machine.

In addition to changing into scrubs or a gown for your MRI, any and all implanted devices need to be thoroughly reviewed prior to entering the exam room. The screening of metal and implants is an important part of your MRI scan. For these reasons, wear something comfortable and easy to change in and out of before and after your exam.

Much like an MRI, newer X-ray technology is highly sensitive. Sometimes, your hair, if it is thick or bunched together, will even show up in an image. If you wear a t-shirt with a logo or print, the print/logo could even show up on the image, which could look like an anomaly within the image.

Consider Arriving Early

Another aspect to consider when preparing for an imaging exam is to arrive 15 minutes early so you can be registered in a timely manner and make sure you get to your appointment on time. Some exams, like an MRI, require you to fill out a small screening form. Arriving 15 minutes early allows you to review the form and fill it out as accurately as possible without feeling rushed. Ultimately, we want to make sure we keep you as safe as possible for your MRI or other imaging scan.

Planning Ahead Leads to Better Results

In conclusion, not only does “dressing for success” lead to a quality image, but it also ensures your and others' safety while having an imaging service performed. Being prepared and knowing what to expect will also lead to a better experience and less time in the healthcare facility. We are here for you and want to provide you with the best care and images, which, in turn, will lead to better outcomes for your health.

So, remember, always “dress for success” before arriving for your imaging procedures.