MRI with contrast

Frequently asked questions

MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging and is a medical imaging technique used to create images of body organs.
An MRI with contrast is an MRI that includes the use of contrast (sometimes called a "dye"), given orally or intravenously to a patient prior to the MRI. Adding contrast, also called gadolinium contrast, helps radiologists and doctors better interpret your imaging and is often used to enhance the visibility of blood vessels, tumors, inflammation, or certain organs.

Contrast is a dye taken orally or administered intravenously that may be recommended for several reasons, often to enhance the clarity of the imaging.

You should check with your referring physician if you don't know which MRI to book.

In short, you do not need insurance to use Sesame. Sesame offers transparent upfront prices for patients without insurance.

Sesame services are paid directly, separate from health insurance.

If your insurance includes a health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA), you can use your funds from these accounts to pay for care on Sesame. Some of these plans include a debit card you can use to pay upfront, and others require you to submit your receipt after your purchase.

If your insurance includes out-of-network coverage and/or a deductible, you may be able to submit your receipt from Sesame for reimbursement. Eligibility is determined by your insurance company and will vary depending on your plan. And you can always use your insurance to pay for medications picked up at your local pharmacy. Our team is here to help you - call us at 1 (877) 947-6411 with any questions.

Sesame’s cancellation policy makes booking, canceling, and rescheduling easy. Sesame will honor a full refund for any of our appointments when canceled within the following time constraints:

  • Virtual appointments: cancel up to 3 hours before the scheduled appointment.
  • In-person appointments: cancel up to 24 hours before the scheduled appointment.
  • All other appointments (including labs, imaging, and appointments that do not have a specific day or time at purchase): cancel up to 10 days after the purchase date once Sesame confirms with the provider that the appointment did not take place.
  • Memberships: You may cancel your subscription to Membership Services at any time up to forty-eight (48) hours before the applicable renewal processing date of your subscription, by emailing directly requesting a cancellation, or by calling +1 (877) 947-6411 to cancel. If you cancel the Membership Services and your subscription term has not expired, you may continue to use the Membership Services until the end of your then-current subscription monthly or annual term and your subscription will not be renewed after your then-current term expires. However, you won't be eligible for a prorated refund of any portion of the recurring subscription fee paid for the then-current recurring subscription term.

We are unable to offer refunds for the following:

  • No-shows.
  • Requests within 24 hours of your appointment time for in-person appointments.
  • Requests within 3 hours of your appointment time for virtual appointments.
  • Requests to prescribe a particular medication or complete particular paperwork that is not accepted.
  • Surgical procedures with confirmed scheduling.
  • A lab must be completed within 7 days of purchase. Sesame cannot issue a refund after the 7-day window.
  • Any refund request more than 10 days after the scheduled visit.
Sesame works with top-reviewed imaging centers to get you the best price for an MRI in your area. We cut out the overhead that drives up cost, and pass those savings onto you.

MRI scans can be used to gather data on many areas of the body. The MRI allows your doctor to see organs, bones, and tissues in your body without surgery. This can help doctors diagnose a disease or injury. Some conditions an MRI scan may help find are:

  • Brain injury

  • Cancer

  • Signs of a stroke

  • Heart Disease

  • Spinal disk problems

  • Bone and joint injuries

  • Internal organ health

  • Soft tissue inflammation

An MRI scanner is operated by a radiologic technologist and is used for the imaging of a certain part of the body. You can speak to your technologist during the procedure via a microphone in the machine. If you have a history of claustrophobia, you may be given a sedative drug to relieve anxiety during the procedure.

Once you are in the MRI machine, a strong magnetic field is created around you or the part of the body being scanned. The procedure is completely painless. The protons in your body, or in the specific area of your body, will line up in a single direction. Short bursts of radio waves will be directed at your body, or a specific area of your body, that will cause these protons to emit radio signals. These signals are then combined like pixels on a computer screen to create detailed imaging of tissue, bone, and organs inside your body.

In some cases, a contrasting agent may be injected through your veins to enhance visual details in your scan. Gadolinium is the most frequently used contrast agent for MRI scans. Side effects of gadolinium are mild but may produce a chilling effect at the injection site or a “pins and needles” feeling. Sesame offers MRI procedures with and without contrast.

The scan can last anywhere from 15 to 90 minutes, depending on need, and how many images must be collected. The internal part of the magnet produces noise that can be blocked out with earplugs or music played during the procedure. Connect with doctors on Sesame to determine the MRI procedure that works best for you.

Contrast agents are dyes used to help the clarity of scanned images. They are usually swallowed, or injected into a vein.

The most common contrast agents used by radiologists are:

  • Iodine
  • Gadolinium
  • Barium-sulfate materials

These dyes are safe but have been known to cause mild allergic reactions in some cases. Severe reactions are rare.

Tell your doctor in advance about the following:

  • Any food, dye, preservative, or drug allergies
  • Medications you are taking, including herbal supplement
  • Recent illness
  • Any medical history of heart disease, asthma, diabetes, or hayfever
  • History of kidney and liver problems or disease

Prior to an MRI scan, a patient may be able to eat and drink normally, while taking their usual medication, unless advised otherwise. In certain cases, you may be asked not to drink water for up to four hours before the scan; in other cases, you may be asked to hydrate before receiving the contrast agent. These conditions depend on the area of the body being scanned, and the reason for scanning.

During your MRI, you may be asked to disrobe and change into a hospital gown prior to your scan. Additionally, you may be asked to remove any metal objects that might interfere with the MRI scan such as:

  • Earrings

  • Bracelets

  • Necklaces

  • Rings

  • Eyeglasses

  • Watches

  • Dentures

  • Wigs (as some wigs contain traces of metal)

  • Body piercings

  • Hearing aids

  • Underwire bras

Doctors ordering your MRI should be aware of your entire medical history, including any medical conditions you may have or any FDA-approved medication you may be taking. While there are few health risks associated with MRIs, it's important that your doctor is well-versed in your medical history. For example, you should let your doctor know if you've had an aneurysm, have a pacemaker, are pregnant and breastfeeding, have ever had an allergic reaction or broke out in hives after ingesting contrast, and more.
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