What is an MRI Scan?

MRI Scan stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, an MRI scan magnetic field and radio waves to create pictures, on a computer of tissues, organs, and other structures inside the body.

An MRI scan is one of the most complicated diagnostic tools accessible to help a referring clinician understand the cause of your particular health issues.

What can be diagnosed with an MRI scan?

By scanning the appropriate sectors of the patient’s body, an MRI scan can help to diagnose the following:

  • prostate problems
  • a few gastrointestinal tract conditions
  • certain ear, nose, and throat (ENT) conditions
  • soft tissue and bone pathology/conditions
  • sports injuries
  • musculoskeletal problems
  • most spinal conditions/injuries
  • most ailments of the brain, including tumors and dementias
  • vascular abnormalities
  • female pelvic problems

Who can’t have an MRI scan?

You must not scan an MRI scan if you have:

  • if you are pregnant
  • a cochlear (ear) implant
  • a metallic foreign body in your eye
  • who had surgery in the last 8 weeks
  • a programmable shunt for hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain)
  • a cardiac (heart) pacemaker
  • certain clips in your head from brain operations, i.e. aneurysm clips

How does an MRI scan Work?

  • Your body will consist of many hydrogen atoms when you’re in an MRI scanner
  • A tough magnetic field supports particles called protons which are within the hydrogen atoms. All the protons align n parallel to the magnetic field like tiny magnets.
  • tiny bursts of radio waves sent through the scanner into your body, the radio waves knock the protons from their position
  • As the burst of radio waves stops, the protons realign back to the place. With this process, they produce radio signals.
  • The proton in different body tissues varies. For example, smoother tissues can be distinguished from harder tissues on the basis of the signals sent.
  • These signal are identified by a receiving device in the scanner
  • The receiving device transmits the signals to a computer, which creates a picture based on the radio signals produced from the body.

What does an MRI scan consist of?

The MRI scanner resembles a tunnel about 1.5 meters length, enclosed by a large circular magnet. You lie on a couch which slides into the scanner. A “receiving device” like aerial is placed behind or around, the part of the body being examined.

This identifies the tiny radio signals produced from your body. When each ‘picture’ is begin taken your need to keep still for a few minutes, or else the scan picture may be blurred. The scan itself is painless and this complete producer will take 15 – 40 minutes

Is an MRI scan has any side effects?

There are no side effects connected to an MRI scan, it is not painful. Since the radiation is not used, the process can be repeated without problems.

There is a little theoretical risk to the fetus in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and therefore scans are not performed on pregnant women during this time.

As patients have to lie inside a large cylinder while the scans are being made some people get claustrophobic (distress) during the test.

Patients who are afraid these scans must talk to a doctor beforehand, so they may give some medication to help them relax and the machine also makes some banging noise when it’s working, which can be unpleasant.

What preparations do we need to do before an MRI scan?

Generally very little, your local hospital will give you information about what is needed before you come for scan, as it uses an enormously strong magnet, so people with certain types of medical implants cannot be scanned.

The following is not an authoritative list but may help to remind you of type of things radiographers need to know

  • Implanted medicine infusion ports.
  • Artificial limbs or metallic joints.
  • Implanted nerve stimulators.
  • Surgical clips such as those used on brain aneurysms.
  • Artificial heart valves.
  • Pins, screws, plates, stents or surgical staples.
  • Internal (implanted) defibrillator or pacemaker.

Ear (cochlear) implant.

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