Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses magnets and radio waves to capture images inside your body without making a surgical incision. It allows your doctor to see the soft tissues in your body, along with your bones.
An MRI can be performed on any part of your body. However, a heart or cardiac MRI looks specifically at your heart and nearby blood vessels.
Unlike a CT scan, an MRI does not use ionizing radiation. It?s considered a safer alternative for pregnant women. If possible, it?s best to wait until after the first trimester.
When a doctor orders an MRI, the patient should receive detailed instructions from the imaging center. Any questions or concerns regarding the preparation process are best brought up before the procedure. For example, the effects of MRI on pregnant women are still not fully known, so a different imaging exam may be required, such as ultrasound or a CT scan. Patients should also let their doctor know if they have kidney or liver conditions, because issues with those organs may limit the imaging technologist's ability to inject contrast agents, which adds contrast to the MRI images and allow doctors to see higher levels of detail.
Because MRI uses magnetic waves, metal objects may be a safety hazard or affect the MRI results. Before having an MRI, a patient should disclose any metal devices in his or her body, such as:
- Metallic prostheses (such as an artificial heart, a hip, or a knee)
- A pacemaker
- Cochlear implants or other hearing aid devices
- Any other type of metal fragment (including shrapnel)
On the day of the procedure, patients will be asked to remove anything metal, such as jewelry and eyeglasses. The patient will then disrobe in private and put on a hospital gown. The room that contains the MRI machine will have a table that the patient lies on. This table slides into the MRI machine, which has a tube entrance. During the scan, the patient will hear loud noises coming from the equipment?this is perfectly natural, as an MRI can be noisy at times. The radiologist in attendance can provide ear plugs or headphones to block the noise at your request.
For the preparation for an MRI Scan, the doctor may want to know if you are allergic to anything, are pregnant, allergic to any medicines and would like to know about your normal health condition. Doctors should also be informed if there are any metal plates or other implantations in your body, if you have had any previous surgeries or operations, or if you wear any medical patches etc. You may want to arrange someone to drive you home after the MRI Scan as the sedative given may need you to relax.
Different MRI Scans need different kinds of guidelines and preparations. For example, for the MRI Scan of the abdomen and pelvic area, doctors may ask you not to drink or eat for several hours before the test.
A special dye which is known as contrast material is required for MRI Scans which help to highlight the body parts or organs which will be going under scan. What this material does is that it helps in blocking the x rays and comes as white in the images obtained. This white color can help emphasize on the organs or vessels.
a dye injection is used, the IV is removed from the arm before you go home.
- Allergic reaction from gadolinium dye is extremely rare. However, if you experience symptoms such as rash, hives, or shortness of breath, you should notify the technologist immediately if you are still at the imaging facility, or call your doctor or go to the nearest hospital if you have already left the imaging facility.
- In the event that sedation is needed (such as for claustrophobia), you will be sent home once awake and alert. If you receive sedation, someone must drive you home.
A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan is a painless procedure that lasts 15 to 90 minutes, depending on the size of the area being scanned and the number of images being taken.
Report delivery time
This means it's unlikely you'll get the results of your scan immediately. The radiologist will send a report to the doctor who arranged the scan, who will discuss the results with you. It usually takes a week or two for the results of an MRI scan to come through, unless they're needed urgently.
Benefits of MRI Scan:
The main and most important benefit of an MRI Scan diagnostic test is that it helps produce or generate clear images of body parts or organs and thus helps to detect infections, diseases and injuries which can thus be treated appropriately.
MRI Scan provides a better soft tissue contrast than the CT scan and has the capability of differentiating between water, fat, muscle.
MRI Scan is an extremely useful test and an important tool in medical imaging. The following are some of its common uses:
MRI scan for head helps to look for tumors, nerve injuries, and other problems like damage caused by a stroke. It also helps to detect problems of the optic nerves, ears and eyes etc.
MRI Scan for chest helps to look at coronary blood vessels, valves of the heart and show if any of these are damaged.
MRI Scan of Blood Vessels helps to see the blood vessels and the flow of blood through them. This process is known as magnetic resonance angiography. It helps to detect problems of the veins, arteries and see if any of them are blocked or torn.
MRI Scan of Pelvic and Abdomen proves very useful in finding problems related to pancreas, kidneys, bladder, liver and gallbladder etc. It can help to see tumors, infections and bleeding etc.
MRI Scan of Bones and Joints help look at problems related to joints and bones like arthritis clearly. It also detects issues related to bone marrow, cartilage, bone tumors and ligaments.
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