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MRI SCANS 101 - Crash Course For Those Who Need To Have An MRI

Fri, Oct. 28, 2016 Posted: 02:14 AM


MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging is preferred by medical community all over the world to scan and find disease in the human body. MRI uses strong radio and field waves to determine the same. It helps to find out the precise cause of health issues which an individual might be suffering from. Be it any chest issue, abdomen or pelvis, an MRI scan generates detailed pictures of inside body.

So, What is MRI of the Body?

There are many health ailments that escape the scrutiny of normal tests procedures. MRI is a form of non-invasive test which uses powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses to generate imagery on a computer screen. Pregnant women go for MRI scans to monitor health of the baby inside.
An MRI image obtained on the computers can be put to better scrutiny and study to determine the underlying health issue at hand. These reports can be electronically transmitted to other concerned parties, can be printed or saved in a CD.

Working of MRI Scan Process
As mentioned above, MRI scan employs powerful magnets which are the prominent parts of MRI machinery.

To understand how MRI works first, it is necessary to understand what initiates this whole process. The main constituent of the human body is water molecules which are further divided into hydrogen and oxygen atoms. There exists a proton at the center of each atom which is further smaller than an atom. These protons serve as magnets which are sensitive to the magnetic field created by the powerful magnets employed by MRI structure.

These magnets produce a powerful magnetic field due to which the protons inside the water molecules are aligned with the field generated. A series of imagery are produced by switching the machine on and off at various minute intervals. Due to this continuous on-off process, the protons get aligned in a state with respect to the magnetic field and return to the relaxed form during the off phase.
During the whole process, there is knocking sound inside the scanner which is only due to the magnetic field being created by the gradient coils.

Use of MRI Scan

MRI scanners are perfect for creating imagery of the non-bony parts. The advantage of MRI over Computed Tomography is that in MRI there are non-ionizing radiations, X-rays which can adversely affect the non-bony parts of a human body. With the help of MRI the brain, nerves, spinal cord as well as muscles or ligaments can be viewed clearly.

An MRI scan helps to better distinguish between the gray and white matter in the brain. It also proves helpful to diagnose aneurysms and tumors. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI) is a special MRI function which is used to closely observe brain structures and identify active parts of the brain by monitoring oxygen consumption during various cognitive tasks.
Besides this, here are the examples where MRI proves to be helpful:

  • Tumors, cysts, and other abnormalities in various parts of the body.
  • Injuries or abnormalities of the joints, such as back pain.
  • Certain types of heart problems.
  • Diseases of the liver and other abdominal organs.
  • Causes of pelvic pain in women (e.g. fibroids, endometriosis).
  • Suspected uterine abnormalities in women undergoing evaluation for infertility.
What to Expect During an MRI Scan

There are no complex preparations which might evoke a sense of fear inside the one undergoing MRI scan. Once an individual arrives for the scan, he/she is provided with a gown to change into. As there are powerful magnets which later one creates a strong magnetic field, it is advisable to get rid of metal objects.
In some cases to enhance the visibility of certain body tissues, an intravenous fluid might be administered in the form of injection to patients. If there exists any query of questions, feel free to ask the present radiologist as they will certainly help you feel comfortable with the arrangements in place.
Once the process starts, it is necessary that the patient stay still. To obtain high-quality images it is necessary that the patient stays still. Many even provide with earplugs to listen to music which helps the patient to divert their mind and be calm.
The doctor stays in touch with the patient through an intercom and the process is not initiated unless and until given a nod by the person undergoing the procedure.
At the completion of scan which takes about 15-20 minutes to get completed a series of imagery are created for the radiologist to refer to. The radiologist decides if there is a need for any more images or not. A report is prepared for the respective doctors to complete the whole MRI process.

Rob williams