Magnetic resonance imaging is used as a first-line diagnostic method for injuries, diseases, and a variety of other conditions. Continue reading this article for what to expect in an MRI for the head and the brain
The brain is the most complex organ of the human body because of its connection to all of the body’s systems. That is why the examination of the brain is carried out using the most high-tech diagnostic devices. For example, magnetic resonance imaging is considered to be one of the best methods of brain diagnostics. It is characterized by painlessness and has a very short list of contraindications. Importantly, MRI does not involve radiation exposure, which is extremely important for such a delicate and sensitive organ as the brain.
Magnetic resonance imaging is a method of research that allows you to get a detailed picture of the state of human organs without internal interference.
To know how to prepare for a head MRI, it is necessary to understand the intricacies of the procedure. During the examination, the magnetic field of the machine affects the hydrogen atoms present in the body. Tomograph sensors record pulses that are modeling images of the examined organ with the help of software.
MRI allows early detection of brain diseases, detection of neoplasms and inflammatory processes, visualization of vessels, etc. With the use of a contrast agent, it is possible to measure the tumor, determine the exact localization of the focus, and the presence of metastasis.
The most common application of an MRI is for examining the spine and central nervous system. The method allows you to accurately assess the structure of the organs, identify existing pathologies, tumors, traumatic changes, etc.
Magnetic resonance imaging is absolutely painless and safe, has no adverse effects on the body, so it can be performed repeatedly, even on pregnant women and children.
Magnetic resonance imaging is one of the highly effective diagnostic procedures often used to assess the condition of the brain and cerebral vessels. Major indications for MRIs include patient complaints such as:
You should also make an appointment for an MRI scan if:
Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and head vessels is recommended once a year for preventive purposes. MRI can detect malignant tumours, inflammatory and vascular pathologies at an early stage.
The method of magnetic resonance imaging is based on the use of high-frequency radio waves and high-power magnetic fields. The presence of electronic or metal objects in the patient’s body leads to distortions in the images, and as a result, the procedure will be useless. In addition, there is a risk that the magnet will change the position of the metal object in the body, resulting in internal bleeding. Therefore, if there are pins, artificial joints, dental implants, pacemakers, and similar objects in the patient’s body, magnetic resonance imaging is not performed.
There are a number of relative contraindications under which the tomography is performed if the risk to the patient is less than the potential benefit of the examination:
As noted above, magnetic resonance imaging is an effective and safe examination of the body. In addition, this type of diagnosis requires almost no preparation, which distinguishes it from other options.
Usually, the characteristics of the MRI signal from different tissues allow clear distinguishing between normal and abnormal. But sometimes affected tissues look almost the same as healthy ones. This is especially common in cases of inflammation and some tumors. In order to increase the ability of the method to distinguish such pathologies, contrast enhancement is used.
Main indications for head MRI with contrast:
The procedure itself is extremely simple: the patient is required to lie still during the entire examination. If this is not done, the images will show motion artifacts, which reduce the diagnostic value of the MRI scanning. The duration of the examination depends on the area and varies from 15 to 40 minutes. The use of contrast will add another 15 minutes to any procedure.
The MRI unit is quite noisy during the examination. For this reason, it is recommended to use special headphones – so the procedure will be more comfortable. In addition, music and the operator’s instructions are transmitted through them.
The patient may be asked to hold his/her breath or take a deep breath, tense his/her abdomen, etc.
Be sure to warn the medical staff if you have any contraindications to the examination. Inform them if you suffer from allergic reactions to medications, have had an injury or surgical intervention, or any chronic diseases.
It makes sense to take the images you received from past tests with you when you repeat the examination.
After completing the examination, you must wait 15-20 minutes until the interpretation of the images is completed.
The MRI examination allows obtaining a series of layer-by-layer images taken in steps of a couple of millimetres. In the course of decoding the images obtained, the radiologist examines the normal structure of the body, detects deviations from the norm, and identifies signs of a particular disease. Special attention is paid to the description of the pathology – location, size, nature, shape, and extent, connection with surrounding organs and tissues.
The images are analysed by a radiologist, who examines the obtained material and draws a conclusion. The results of the examination are sent to the attending physician. The patient can receive them in any form – printed or recorded on a disc, but many modern clinics offer a more convenient option – to receive the results in a personal online profile.
The high imaging speed of MRI combined with the absence of radiological burden on the body has made this method the most important one in brain research. In many cases, magnetic resonance imaging can serve as a first-line diagnostic method, i.e., it can be the only method that can answer all clinical questions.