What to expect during an MRI?

What is MRI?

MRI for magnetic resonance imaging is a medical test done using magnetic and radio waves to form images of inside body. It uses strong magnetic field to form detail images of human anatomy with excellent soft tissue contrast.

MRI scans on an average last for about 20 to 40 minutes depending upon the part being scanned. MRI and CT scan does seem scary at first instance and a big one but the reality is something else.

MRI is indicated usually after other major tests are in-conclusive. It’s not only provides superb anatomical detail but also provides answer to clinicians question to decide the best line of treatment for the patient.

The varied aspects of MRI

The usual conditions where MRI is indicated are as follows neurological (injure, infection, headache and tumours), spinal abnormalities (injury, infection, disk problem with nerve compression and tumours), musculoskeletal (joint problem, injury and tumours), heart (undiagnosed conditions) and abdominal (infection & tumours).

In preparation for MRI the patient it is asked to not have food for approximate 4 hours before the examination. A detailed medical history with review of previous investigation and operative history in taken. A thorough check of the patient for metal items like earring, glasses, mobile, credit cards, key rings, coins, hair pins and rings as they might interfere with the image.

MRI is indicated for all age group but is best avoided during first and second trimester of pregnancy.

Get to know about the MRI experience

The MRI machine is a long tube in which the patient is asked to lie on a table. The machine produces loud thumping sound which can be distracting for the patient. The patient is made to wear ear muffle / earphones playing calm music to distract the patient from the loud noise.

Scanning duration is about 20 minutes to an hour. The patient is asked to relax with no movement to avoid image artefacts / distortion. At instances patient is also asked to hold breath for better image quality.

The narrow tunnel makes certain patient feel claustrophobic for which a panic button has been provided in case of emergency. The scan also be performed under anesthesia for extremely claustrophobic / and uncooperative patient.

There are no documented side effects of MRI. The MRI scan can be done any number of times.

After effects of MRI

Post the MRI scan you can go back home with no post procedure formalities / instruction. The doctors get to work on the images to draw the right inference and give you an excellent report.


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