What is MRI?
MRI is short for magnetic resonance imaging. MRI uses a strong magnetic field, radio waves, and a computer to create images of the organs and tissues within the body. MRI is a painless and noninvasive scanning procedure. MRI does not use the damaging ionizing radiation of X-rays and CT scans.
Why would I get an MRI?
MRI helps diagnose disease or injury, and it can also monitor how well the body is responding to a certain treatment.
MRI of the bones and joints looks for: bone infections, cancer, damage to joints, disc problems in the spine.
MRI of the brain and spinal cord looks for: blood vessel damage, brain injury, cancer, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, and stroke.
MRI of the heart and blood vessels looks for: blocked blood vessels, damage caused by a heart attack, heart disease, problems with the structure of the heart.
MRI can also be done to check the health of these organs: breasts (women), live, kidneys, ovaries (women), pancreas, prostate (men)
Who cannot get an MRI?
People with the following implants cannot be scanned and should not enter the MRI scanning area:
- Cochlear (ear) implant
- Some types of clips used for brain aneurysms
- Some types of metal coils placed within blood vessels
- Nearly all cardiac defibrillators and pacemakers
How to prepare for an MRI?
The magnetic field is not harmful, but it may cause some medical devices to malfunction. Tell your doctor about any health problems, recent surgeries or allergies and whether there’s a possibility you’re pregnant. There have been no reports of ill effects on pregnant women, however, it is usually not recommended if during the first 3-4 months. Most metal implants are not a problem, but technologists should always be aware of any devices or metal in your body. Unless otherwise instructed, take medications as usual, and continue to eat and drink normal balanced meals. Remove all jewelry, watches, body piercings, hearing aids, hairpins, zippers, dental work, eyeglasses, and empty all pockets. Wear comfortable clothing with no metal fasteners, and you may be asked to wear a gown. If you have claustrophobia or anxiety, you may ask the doctor for a mild sedative prior to the MRI.