Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a type of scan that uses radio waves and strong magnetic fields to produce detailed images of regions inside the body. The patient is made to lie within a large tube that is the MRI scanner. Within the tube, the patient is subjected to a magnetic field and a barrage of radio waves. However, it is an absolutely painless procedure.
An MRI scan can take images of almost any interior part of the body. The results help with diagnosis as well as treatments plans and in assessing their effectiveness.
You lie on a flat bed, which will slide into the scanning tube, head or feet first, depending on the area to be scanned. A radiographer, trained in imaging operations, will operate the MRI scanner. The scanner is controlled by a remote computer to keep it away from the magnetic field generated in the tube. An MRI scan can take from 15 to 90 minutes depending on the size of the area and the number of images to be captured.
The patient can interact with the radiographer through an intercom; the imaging team can see the patient on a television monitor throughout the procedure. It is important to lie perfectly still during the scan. At certain times, the scanner will make loud, tapping noises. This is the sound of the electric current being turned on and off in the scanner coils. Patients are given earplugs or headphones so that the sounds do not bother them.
There are some conditions, which might make you ineligible to undergo MRI scanning. Due to the use of magnets, metal cannot be exposed to the scan. Please inform your medical team if any of the following applies to you:
It is advisable to discuss all issues with your doctor, which seems relevant to you. The actual scan requires little preparation. There may be some dietary restrictions and limitations on medicine. At the time of the scan, you will be asked to change into a hospital gown as you cannot have any metallic objects on your person. In certain patients, an IV catheter may be inserted in the arm to inject an MRI contrast medium.