Getting an fMRI
Getting an fMRI is safe and painless. During the scan, you lie down for about 30-45 minutes with your head resting in a small compartment. The compartment has a mirror above it that shows you a projection from a computer screen. You will also be wearing earplugs and/or headphones. The mirror and headphones are for you to participate in audio and/or video tasks. The scanner makes knocking and beeping sounds while it is working, but the earplugs and/or headphones will protect your ears. We will give you a button that you can press if you need to let us know that you are uncomfortable in the scanner.
It is important to note that the head compartment is quite small. People with claustrophobia or discomfort in tight spaces are discouraged from participating.
If you would like to see exactly what the scanner looks like, please visit our Kids Area.
Can anyone get an fMRI scan?
Most people can have an fMRI scan. However, pregnant women cannot participate. Persons with metal in the body cannot participate either. Such metal includes:
- dental braces
- permanent dental retainers
- cochlear implant
- aneurysm clip
- metal fragments in the eye
- cardiac pacemaker
- glasses with metal frames (if you bring your prescription, we will provide you with a temporary pair of glasses that are safe in the scanner)