WHAT DOES AN MRI SCAN INVOLVE?
Our friendly radiographer will assist you to lie comfortably on a couch and a detector coil (receiving device) will be positioned at the part of the body being examined. You will be given a call bell to be used should you feel uncomfortable at anytime during the examination. As the scanner is noisy, you will also be given earplugs to reduce the noise. At all times, you will have voice contact with the radiology who is observing you in the control room next tot eh scanner. The couch will then slowly be moved into the center of the magnet, surrounding the body with magnetic field.
During the scanning process, you will hear faint knocking and intermittent thumping sounds from the machine. It is very important that you keep completely still as the machine captures the images to avoid the images being blurred.
Do breathe normally as the scan itself is painless and there is nothing about this procedure to make you uncomfortable.
Depending on the part of the body being scanned, the procedure can take about 10-30 minutes. In some cases, an injection of a special contrast dye is given into the bloodstream via a vein on the arm. When the contrast material is injected, it is normal to feel coolness and a flashing sensation for a minute or two. This helps to give clearer images of certain tissues or organs being examined.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS VS RISKS?
- MRI is a noninvasive imaging technique that does not involve exposure to ionizing.
- MR images of the soft-tissue structures of the body such as the heart, liver and many other organs – is more likely in some instances to identify and accurately characterize diseases than other imaging methods. This detail makes MRI an invaluable tool in early diagnosis and evaluation of many focal lesions and tumors.
- MRI has proven valuable in diagnosing a broad range of conditions, including cancer, heart and vascular disease, brain, muscular and bone abnormalities.
- MRI enables the discovery of abnormalities that might be noninvasively and without contrast injection.
- The contrast material used in MRI exams is less likely to produce an allergic reaction than the iodine-based contrast materials used for conventional x-rays and CT scanning.
- MRI provided a noninvasive alternative to x-ray, angiography and CT for diagnosing problems of the heart and blood vessels.
- There is a very slight risk of an allergic reaction if contrast material is injected. Such reactions usually are mild and easily controlled by medication. If you experience allergic symptoms, a radiologist or other physician will be available for immediate assistance.