This information will prepare you for functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC).
Most people's brains are organized in a similar way. However, lesions in the brain can cause the speech and movement functions to move around. During your fMRI you will be asked to perform certain tasks that will help your doctor to locate the area of your brain that controls speech and movement. This information will then be used to help make decisions about your surgery.
Preparing for Your fMRI
- No special preparation is needed for your fMRI. You may take your medication as usual.
- If you are getting medication through a patch on your skin, remove it before entering the fMRI suite. This is because any metal on the patch can heat up and cause burns during an fMRI. Many patches have metal, some don't. Because we cannot know all products, we have made it our policy that any patch must be removed for your safety. Bring an extra patch with you to put on after your procedure. A Fentanyl patch doesn't need to be removed. It is the only exception to our policy.
- If it is hard for you to lie still for about 1 hour, or if you fear being in a narrow or small space, speak with your doctor before your procedure. You may be prescribed medication to help with this.
- If you wear contact lenses, please wear them the day of the fMRI. This will make it easier to complete the tasks presented to you while you are in the fMRI.
- The fMRI takes 30 to 45 minutes.
If your fMRI is at the main hospital, enter through the 68th Street entrance. Turn left and take the C elevator to the 11th floor. When you get off the elevator, turn right and walk to the end of the hallway to the MRI suite.
- The fMRI machine may affect:
- Some implants
- Devices such as pacemakers
- Metal, such as shavings in the eye
- Medication patches
You will fill out a questionnaire about any medical implants or devices you may have. Patients with these devices may not go into the scanning room. If you have a medical implant, ask your doctor to tell you the exact type and manufacturer of the device. The manufacturer can tell you if it is safe for you to have an fMRI. You may be able to find out by going to the manufacturer's website. Get this information before you arrive for your procedure. Because there are so many different devices, we can't know about all of them. If you do not have the information about the safety of your device, you may not be able to have your procedure.
- You may have an fMRI with a liquid substance called contrast media. When this substance goes into the body, it makes it easier to see any disease. It will be given to you through an intravenous (IV) line put into a vein in your hand or arm. If you are going to get contrast media, your doctor or nurse will discuss it with you. If you are a female between the ages of 11 and 55, this discussion will include questions about any chance you might be pregnant.
- You will change into a hospital gown before going into the scanning area. You will place your clothes and any metal objects (such as jewelry, coins, or glasses) in a locker. You should also place any credit, ATM, or debit cards in the locker. The fMRI magnet will erase the information on the magnetic strip on
A clinician will discuss the fMRI tasks that were selected for you before going into the fMRI scanning room. You may be asked to name pictures or answer other questions about your speech or strength. At this time you should discuss any speech difficulties or other problems you might have. You will then be taken to the scanning room and helped onto the fMRI table. The fMRI machine is a large, donut- shaped magnet. It makes a loud tapping noise while the scan is in progress.
- When you have been made as comfortable as possible on the fMRI table, the technician will slide it into the magnetic part of the machine. You will be able to speak with the technician during the entire scan.
- It is important to lie still and breathe normally during the scan. The scan itself does not hurt, but lying on the table for 45 to 60 minutes may be uncomfortable. If you think this will be a problem for you, tell your doctor before you come for the scan.
- Most patients don't mind being in the scanning tunnel. However, a small number of patients can't complete the fMRI because they can't be in small or enclosed spaces. If you are concerned about this, discuss this with your doctor before your fMRI. He or she may give you something to help you relax during your procedure. If your doctor prescribes medication for you, take it 30 to 60 minutes before your procedure. Please note that we don't have medication in the MRI area to help you relax. You must get it ahead of time and bring it with you.
Even if you have been given medication to help you relax in the past, don't take it for your fMRI without speaking with your doctor first.
- While you are lying in the fMRI scanner, the clinical technician will to ask to you to begin your selected task. You will be asked to perform a task for about 20 seconds and then you will rest. This will be repeated 5 to 6 times.
- When your fMRI is complete, the scanning table will be moved from the machine and you will be helped off the table. After you get your belongings, you may leave the fMRI suite.
After Your Procedure
- There are no restrictions after your fMRI and no special care is needed.
- The radiologist will send a report to your doctor. The results of your procedure will be used with other test results to plan your care.