MRI scan stems from magnetic resonance imaging. Patients enter the machine called MRI scanner and there are exposed to powerful magnets and radio waves, which together help to create a body picture detailed enough to find sources of health problems. There are a few types of MRI scan, including MRI scan with contrast and without contrast, as well as so-called open MRI. Unlike CT scan, MRI scan does not involve X-rays.
MRI Scan Candidates
MRI scanner is used to detect various medical conditions, including:
• Various kinds of cancer, including lung cancer, stomach cancer, liver cancer and others. Additionally, with MRI scan it is possible to estimate what type the cancer is – is it malignant, did it spread to other organs.
• Bone problems.
• Medical conditions related to soft tissue.
• Prostate diseases.
• Spinal injuries, including cervical spine MRI and lumbar spine MRI.
Am I Suitable for MRI Scan?
Most people can undergo an MRI scan procedure, including pregnant women, and children. However, it is rarely proposed to pregnant women unless it is really necessary. MRI procedure is also unadvised to people with any metal objects and devices in their bodies, including pacemakers and shunt for hydrocephalus. Additionally, people undergoing chemotherapy treatment are discouraged from undergoing MRI procedure.
Preparing for MRI Scan
Usually, there are no preparations for an MRI scan. However, some patients will be advised to fast for some hours before an MRI procedure or to the contrary – to drink a lot of water. The most important part of preparation is to remove all metal objects, including jewelry from your body – after all MRI scanner utilizes powerful magnets.
How is MRI Scan Performed?
Patients lie on a bed which then enters the MRI scan. Depending on which body part undergoes MRI procedure patient’s head (for example in MRI brain scan or neck MRI) or legs (in abdominal MRI and lumbar spine MRI) will enter the MRI scanner first. It is crucial to remain motionless in the course of MRI scan, since movement may blur the picture. In order to provide a particularly clear picture, doctors may propose MRI with contrast. Contrast is a chemical substance which enters patient’s body through injection and then spreads with blood. However, it is possible to perform MRI without contrast as well. Whole MRI scan procedure takes up to 1.5 hours.
MRI Scan Summary
Duration of Operation
20 to 45 minutes depending on the type of study being performed
MRI Scan Recovery
Since MRI scan is a simple medical procedure not involving anesthesia or a surgery, there is no MRI scan recovery period.
MRI Scan Risks and Complications
There are no known MRI scan risks since this procedure does not involve X-rays and other types of potentially dangerous radiation. However, as a precaution, pregnant women, especially in first months of pregnancy, are discouraged from having MRI scan. In the same way, patients with metal objects and devices implanted in their body, such as pacemakers, artificial hearts and so on, aren’t advised to have an MRI scan.
MRI Scan Side Effects
Currently, despite wide research, there are no known MRI scan side effects.