What Is M.R.I.?
M.R.I. means Magnetic resonance imaging which is a type of scan that uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the inside of the body.
An MRI scanner is a large tube that contains powerful magnets. The patient would need to lie down inside the tube during the scan, and this scan can be used to examine almost any part of the body, including:
- Brain and spinal cord
- Bones and joints
- Heart and blood vessels
- internal organs, such as the liver, womb or prostate gland
The results of an MRI scan can be used to help diagnose conditions, plan treatments and assess how effective previous treatment has been.
MRI scanning is a non-invasive and painless procedure.
How Does It Work?
MRI scans can produce a detailed image. It uses a large magnet, radio waves, and a computer to create a detailed, cross-sectional image of internal organs and structures.
The scanner itself typically resembles a large tube with a table in the middle, allowing the patient to slide in.
An MRI scan differs from CT scans and X-rays, as it does not use potentially harmful ionizing radiation.
How long does it take?
Procedures lasts up to 15 to 90 minutes depending on the size of the area being scanned and the number of images being taken.
During an MRI scan
Once in the scanner, the MRI technician will communicate with the patient via the intercom to make sure that they are comfortable. They will not start the scan until the patient is ready.
During the scan, it is vital to stay still. Any movement will disrupt the images, much like a camera trying to take a picture of a moving object. Loud clanging noises will come from the scanner. This is perfectly normal.
Depending on the images, at times it may be necessary for the person to hold their breath. But all the instructions will be given by the technicians and the staff.
If the patient feels uncomfortable during the procedure, they can speak to the MRI technician via the intercom and request that the scan be stopped.
Before the exam:
The patients may be asked to change into a gown. As magnets are used, it is critical that no metal objects are present in the scanner. The staff will ask the patient to remove any metal jewellery or accessories that might interfere with the machine.
A person will probably be unable to have an MRI if they have any metal parts inside their body, such as bullets, shrapnel, or other metallic foreign bodies. This can also include medical devices, such as cochlear implants, aneurysm clips, and pacemakers. But before the scan the patients can get instructions from the technicians and see depending on the area of the scan whether they are able to do the scan or not.
Individuals who are anxious or nervous about enclosed spaces should tell their doctor. Often they can be given medication prior to the MRI to help make the procedure more comfortable.
Patients will sometimes receive an injection of intravenous (IV) contrast liquid to improve the visibility of a particular tissue that is relevant to the scan.
The radiologist, a doctor who specializes in medical images, will then talk the individual through the MRI scanning process and answer any questions they may have about the procedure.
Once the patient has entered the scanning room, the technician will help them onto the scanner table to lie down. Staff will ensure that they are as comfortable as possible by providing blankets or cushions.