X-Ray & MRI Preparation

Preparing for your imaging exam

UM Health-Sparrow is proud to be a part of the Mid-Michigan community, capable of providing best-in-class care just down the street. For any test with us, please wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing without zippers, snaps, or other metal parts. A locker will be provided in a secure dressing area for clothing and belongings. You can also leave your personal items at home or with a companion. 

If you have images that were done at another medical facility related to the same body area being scanned or that may relate to your current medical condition. Our radiologists will review these images and documents when evaluating your scans. 

A staff member will try to contact you prior to the day of your scheduled exam to confirm your appointment and gather necessary patient information. Please plan to arrive for your appointment at least 30 minutes before the scheduled start time of the exam to allow for check-in and interviewing. 

X-Ray exam

X-rays can be used for screening, diagnosing, and treating other medical conditions such as infections, arthritis, and tumors. There are no special preparations for a diagnostic X-ray exam.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) exam

MRI exams require no special preparation – patients may eat and take any medications needed as usual, except in the special case of sedation. 

You may be asked to change into a gown and asked to remove items that may affect the magnetic imaging, including jewelry, dentures, bobby pins, makeup, watches, eyeglasses, credit cards, prostheses, wire support bras, or any other metal objects that might interfere with the magnetic field of the MRI scanner.


If a person suffers from claustrophobia, or the scan will be performed on a young child, then sedation of various types may be used. Special preparation will be required for the sedation procedure in these cases. We will work with your primary care physician or the Anesthesiology Department to coordinate any use of medication or sedation.

Please bring such situations to the attention of your physician and the scheduling staff at UM Health-Sparrow MRI before scheduling the procedure. If you will be taking medication prescribed by your physician or you will be undergoing sedation, then please have someone else drive you to and from the facility. More detailed information will be provided if you need sedation during your exam. 


Just like the rest of our medical center, our Imaging Department is well-equipped to be used for pediatric needs. Because a successful MRI requires the patient to remain completely still during the exam, some children undergoing an MRI may need to be sedated, usually those under the age of 6 years. If this is necessary, your physician will go over any special requirements, and we'll be there to reassure you both. 

In the case of sedation, the child may have to stay at UM Health-Sparrow Hospital up to two hours after the end of the exam for observation. Dress your child in comfortable clothing without metal parts, such as zippers or snaps, and feel free to bring along your child's favorite toy or blanket or anything that will make it feel a little less scary. 

What not to bring

Anything that is metal, or contains metal affected by magnets, cannot go into the MRI scan room since the MRI magnet is extremely powerful. For example, the magnetic strip on credit cards or even audiotapes will be erased if they are brought into the scan room, rendering them useless. Because of this, there is an extensive checklist that we use in order to make certain that no inappropriate metal is brought into the MRI scan room. The MRI technologist will go through our metal checklist with you, and they may ask that you change into a hospital gown if they feel your clothing will interfere with the scan. 

Please notify the staff if you may have any possible magnetic material in your body, such as surgical pins, plates, IUD, surgical clips, or any other foreign objects. Please allow us to make the determination about whether an internally placed object is safe by notifying us of all such objects in your body. In addition, some body tattoos contain high levels of metallic dust that can sometimes result in burns after contact with the magnetic field of the MRI magnet. 

If you have been in the Metal Working Industry or similar industries and may have had metal dust or rust in your eyes, we ask that you have an X-ray of the facial area to determine if any specks of metallic dust may still be present in your eye socket area. Failure to check for metallic specks, and having any specks found removed, can result in damage to your eyes and vision if you enter the MRI magnetic field. Contact our office at 517.364.2877 if you think this situation applies to you, and we can explain how to go about having the proper X-ray done prior to your scheduled MRI exam.