Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the method of getting comprehensive images of body organs that works as an alternative to using x-rays and ionizing radiation. An MRI machine produces strong magnetic field radio waves via computer technology and can be used to diagnose conditions, illnesses, and confirm proper treatment in a less invasive way.
An MRI can be performed on nearly every part of the body, making it a useful piece of equipment when it comes to diagnosing conditions. Additionally, an MRI can be used at the end of treatment, to ensure that a treatment has been successful.
Because an MRI magnifies the distinguishing factor in water content and the blood in the organs, an MRI will display an accurate shape and size of bodily organs, making it a useful tool for determining abnormalities. MRIs will also display an organ’s location alongside nearby organs. MRI results may reveal inflammation in the body tissues or if a contrast agent is used, an MRI will show the size and location of tumors. It can also show the size of the lymph nodes. All of these are extremely helpful in diagnosing various conditions and will ensure a reliable diagnosis of your illness.
Preparation for an MRI
Very little is required to prepare for an MRI and your doctor, who knows your specific conditions, should advise you on how to best prepare. Generally, one should take medications as advised and eat and drink as normal, unless your doctor tells you not to. Additionally, if you have any of these conditions, it is best to notify your doctor as your MRI may need to be modified:
What to expect before an MRI scan
You should leave any valuables at home as you’re not able to wear jewelry into the machine. Know what medicines and their dosages you are currently on and be aware that if you suffer from claustrophobia you should notify your doctor who can advise you on medicine to take beforehand. Once any necessary paperwork is completed, you’ll be given a hospital gown and a locker in which to secure your belongings. You may also need an IV in your arm, depending on the specific type of MRI scan you’re receiving.
Guidance during MRI
The duration of the exam will depend on your condition. Usually, it takes 45 minutes to 1 hour. For a tissue scan, you may need to lie on your back in the MRI tube as the system has magnets that provide images of the organ under scanning. Most exams involve two to six imaging sessions, with each session timing around 15 minutes or less. These sessions provide different viewpoints and images of the bodily organs. The specialist overseeing your MRI may provide you with an alarm tool to alert the radiologist of any discomfort, but if you’re mentally and physically prepared, you’ll not need to use the alarm.
As an MRI scan will require you to hold perfectly still during the procedure, it is important that you mentally prepare. Deep breathing exercises are extremely helpful here, as are headphone or earplugs which can help you relax and stay calm. There may be intermittent banging noises, which are simply the machine doing its job. Using your headphones or earplugs can mitigate that noise and deep breathing exercises will help keep you calm.
After your MRI
If you’ve received an IV, your MRI tech will remove the dye injection from your arm before you return home. Additionally, if the radiologist gives you a sedative due to anxiety or claustrophobia, have a friend or family member available to drive you home.
You’ll receive your MRI results back within a few weeks and your doctor should be on hand to talk them over with you.
In conclusion, very little is required to prepare you or even children for an MRI scan, and it is a painless and simple procedure that can successfully help diagnose many major and minor illnesses. Being mentally prepared for the process though can go a long way towards a successful procedure and your mental well-being.