Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging method that creates detailed images of the body's organs and tissues using a magnetic field and computer-generated radio waves.

The majority of MRI equipment features huge, tube-shaped magnets. As people lie inside an MRI machine, the magnetic field realigns the water molecules in their bodies for a short time. Radio waves allow these aligned atoms to generate mild signals to create cross-sectional MRI images analogous to slices in a loaf of bread. The MRI equipment may also generate 3D images that can be viewed from various perspectives.

What is MRI used for?

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a highly effective diagnostic tool used to create detailed images of the inside of the body. It uses a strong magnet, radio waves, and a computer to produce high-resolution images of the body's internal structures.

Here are the following common uses for MRI:

Diagnosing medical conditions

MRI can help diagnose a wide range of medical conditions, including cancers, neurological disorders, heart and vascular disease, musculoskeletal injuries, and joint problems.

Monitoring the progression of a medical condition

By taking repeat MRI scans over time, doctors can monitor the progression of certain medical conditions and evaluate the effectiveness of treatments.

Planning surgery or other medical procedures

MRI can be used to plan surgeries, radiation therapy, and other medical procedures by providing detailed images of the body's internal structures.

Screening for certain medical conditions

MRI can be used to screen for certain medical conditions, such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, and other types of cancer.

What happens during MRI?

The MRI machine resembles a long, narrow tube with both ends open. Individuals lie down on a moveable table that slides into the tube opening. From another room, a techie keeps an eye on things. One can communicate with the person via a microphone.

The treatment is completely painless. There is no magnetic field or radio waves around you, and there are no moving parts. The inside component of the magnet makes repetitive tapping, thumping, and other noises during the MRI scan. To help block out the noise, one may be provided with earplugs or have music playing.

Individuals may be asked to execute a series of modest tasks during a functional MRI. This helps you recognize the areas of the brain that control these activities.

How to prepare for the test?

Here are some general guidelines for preparing for an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging):

Follow the doctor's instructions

The doctor or imaging center will provide you with specific instructions on how to prepare for the MRI, including what to drink or eat before the test, which medications to take or avoid, and any other special considerations based on your medical history.

Wear comfortable, metal-free clothing

You'll need to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing without any metal objects. If necessary, you may be asked to change into a hospital gown.

Inform the technologist if you have any medical conditions

you have any medical conditions that may affect the test, such as claustrophobia, kidney problems, or allergies to contrast dye, be sure to inform the technologist or radiologist before the test.

How long does an MRI scan take?

The entire exam usually takes between 30 and 50 minutes to complete, depending on the type of exam and the technology utilized. Based on the specific cause for the scan, the healthcare provider will be able to offer patients a more precise time range.

Side effects of MRI contrast

Some patients who use contrast material for their MRI may experience headache and pain at the site of the injection

Hives, irritated eyes, or other symptoms of an allergic reaction to the contrast substance are quite unusual. Inform the technician if you have any allergic reactions. A health doctor will be available to provide prompt medical attention.

When should I expect to receive my MRI results?

A radiologist will evaluate the images from the MRI scan. The radiologist will send you a signed report, which you will discuss with your primary care physician. A follow-up exam may be required.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I have an MRI if I am pregnant?

MRI is generally considered safe during pregnancy, but some doctors may avoid it during the first trimester unless it is absolutely necessary.

2. Can I drive after an MRI?

Yes, you can usually drive after an MRI, but you may feel drowsy or disoriented if you were given medication to help you relax.

3. Can I wear jewelry during an MRI?

No, you should not wear any metal during an MRI, including jewelry, watches, and hairpins.

4. What is the cost of an MRI?

In India, the average cost of an MRI scan ranges between Rs. 1500 and Rs. 25,000. However, pricing may vary depending on the hospitals in different cities.