MRI Preparation

The following information is provided to help participants prepare for an MRI scan:

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses magnetic fields and radio waves to make a picture of the brain. No radiation is used.


Because a strong magnet is used, we must be very careful that metal objects do not enter the MRI scanner room.

For this reason, we ask that you wear comfortable clothes with no metal on them. Athletic apparel works great, but we also have scrubs without any metal on them for you to change into before entering the scanner room.

You will be asked to fill out a safety screening form to see if you have any implanted metal from a surgery.

Below are things to keep in mind when preparing for a scan:


Medical implants

Most surgeries use titanium (or non-ferrous) implants, but there are some surgeries, pacemakers and certain brain implants, that can pose a risk. The MRI technologist will evaluate the form and discuss any questions with you. If there is any possibility the implanted metal is not safe for an MRI scan, you will be excluded from the study.


Dental Work

Most dental work is not a problem, but please make the researcher aware if you have extensive orthodontia. Although it is safe to scan, the metal can degrade the data and some researchers may exclude you from the study.


Some makeup, especially mascara and eye shadows, have tiny bits of metal/glitter in them that can irritate your eyes. You may be asked to remove eye makeup before your scan.



If you wear glasses, you will be asked to remove them before the MRI scan. You may wear non-colored contacts. MRI compatible glasses are available, but contacts are a more comfortable option if you have them.



Some tattoos (usually glittery or older) have some iron in the ink. This can cause tingling or heating during the MRI scan. Every participant is given a call button. If you would experience tingling or heat, we would ask you to squeeze the call button and the MRI scan would be stopped.



If possible, leave jewelry, piercings and hair accessories at home. We do have locked areas available for your belongings.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior or the researcher conducting the study in which you are participating.