What is an MRI scan?
A Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan is a type of scan that uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed, cross-sectional images of the inside of the body on the computer. It involves using a large tube with powerful magnets through which the patient is slid on the table for the scanning process. This test is non-invasive and helps to diagnose several medical conditions. Yashoda Hospital has multidisciplinary diagnostic labs which are fully equipped with the latest, diagnostic and screening modalities and our experts are here to help you diagnose your conditions, and plan your treatment.
WHAT are the uses of an MRI scan?
Unlike CT scans and X-rays, an MRI scan does not use harmful ionizing radiation and is, therefore, used to examine even the most sensitive parts of the body. A special type of MRI called functional MRI of the brain is used to study the brain’s anatomy and identify the parts responsible for critical functions thereby, assessing any damage from physical injury or diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Here are some of the most significant uses of an MRI scan-
1. To detect any brain, spinal cord, or heart problems
2. To evaluate infertility anomalies and various pelvic pain in women such as fibroids and endometriosis
3. For breast cancer screening in women
4. To check for injuries to the joints
5. To identify tumours, cysts, and other abnormalities in the body
6. To detect aneurysms of cerebral vessels
HOW can you prepare for an MRI scan?
Before the scanning procedure, you will be asked to remove all metal accessories and change into a hospital gown. Any metallic foreign bodies including medical devices like pacemakers and cochlear implants may hamper the results. Claustrophobic patients must inform the doctors about their condition so the doctors may prepare accordingly through medication. To better the visibility of the internal structures or highlight certain tissues, you may be given an intravenous injection containing a contrast material.
WHAT is the diagnostic procedure of an MRI scan?
After the needful preparation process, you will be ushered into the scanning room where your doctor will make you lie down on a movable table sliding into the magnetic tube. As the technician monitors you from another room while retrieving the information on a computer, your doctor will continue to communicate with you through a microphone.
As soon as you are comfortably settled onto the tube and the technician ensures that you are ready, the MRI machine is set to create a strong magnetic field around you with radio waves directed at your body. This may produce various tapping and thumping noises that can be avoided by using earphones or earplugs. It is important that you keep still during the scanning and sometimes may be asked to hold your breath to ensure that the images are captured in their best quality to obtain the essential information. Gadolinium in the contrast material used to enhance visibility rarely causes allergy and since the scan process involves only waves, it is usually painless.
In the case of a functional MRI, you may be asked to make certain movements like tapping your thumb, ribbing on an object, or simply answering questions over the microphone which helps your examiner assess the parts of your brain that control such activities. An MRI may last a quarter to even an hour depending upon the size of the area being scanned and the number of images taken during the procedure.
WHAT can you expect after the MRI?
If you haven’t been sedated particularly for the scanning, you may resume your usual activities after the procedure. After the scan, the technician will give a detailed report of the test to the concerned doctor who will analyse the images and discuss the important findings with you to design the required treatment based on the results.
WHAT are the risk factors of an MRI scan?
Since any MRI scanning process involves the working of powerful magnets, the presence of any kind of metal in your body becomes a risk factor since it may attract the magnet. Even if there is no magnetic attraction, metallic objects have a high potential to distort the MRI images and thereby, hamper the result accuracy.
Some of the most common devices you are recommended to avoid during the MRI scan include implanted drug infusion pumps, metallic joint prostheses, pacemakers, nerve stimulators, cochlear implants, or ay metal clips, pins, or surgical staples.
Since some permanent tattoos and makeup contain certain metallic elements, you are advised to inform your doctor about any such conditions before the scanning.
Expecting mothers are advised to inform their doctor about their pregnancy since the condition may call for an alternative test. Breastfeeding mothers or patients with liver and kidney problems are recommended to inform their doctor about it before taking any contrast material.
Are there any Side-effects of an MRI scan to watch out for?
Having stated that an MRI scan is painless and radiation-free, in the rarest of cases, the contrast material used may cause headache, nausea mild discomfort, or burning sensation at the part of injection in a few patients. There have been very less cases of allergic reactions to the contrast material. However, in case you experience any of such side effects, you are advised to notify your doctor about it so you may be given the necessary attention at the earliest.
WHOM to consult?
The diagnostic labs at Yashoda Hospital are manned by expert technicians and radiologists who are highly trained and have years of experience in the field. As a multispecialty hospital, we have in our specialist team, experts in nuclear medicine, pathology, and microbiology who constantly work together to give our patients the best care by developing the most effective treatment.
For any query on MRI scan, please feel free to reach out to us on our official website Yashoda Hospital or book an appointment anytime with our various specialists Dr. Aashish Gambhir, Dr. Sanjay Deb, Dr. Shuchi Ghai, Dr. Shreya Chaudhuri, and Dr. Tanish Mandal by calling us on 09810922042.