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About MRI Scan Lab Test

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MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a type of medical imaging procedure that uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of various parts inside the body.

Your doctor may ask you to undergo an MRI scan to assess-

Musculoskeletal problems

Sports injuries

Brain

Spinal cord

Blood vessels

Internal organs (heart, lungs, liver)

Cancers, tumors or abnormal growth

There are two types of MRI systems, short bore, and open MRI. Short bore MRI systems are shorter and wider and are more comfortable than conventional MRI systems. Open bore systems have an even wider space and can give an even better experience. One of the major benefit or MRI scan is that, unlike other imaging procedures, MRI avoids the need for exposure to harmful ionizing radiation.

No special preparation is needed for an MRI. Inform your doctor if you are on any medications or supplements, have had any recent surgeries, or have any allergies before your MRI. You may eat, drink and take your medications normally unless otherwise requested by your doctor. Since MRI scans use strong magnets, you will need to remove any metal/electronic objects before going in for your scan procedure. People with the following materials/conditions may not be good candidates for MRI

  • Cardiac pacemakers
  • Cochlear implants
  • Metallic prosthesis
  • Artificial heart valves
  • Neurostimulators (TENS-unit)
  • Certain types of dentures
  • Insulin pump
  • Certain stents/grafts
  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Allergy to iodine/gadolinium

You may need to switch to a hospital gown depending on the area being scanned. Certain MRIs may require you to have a contrast dye injection before the procedure. The contrast improves the quality of the images and helps your doctor better visualize your internal tissues. Injection of contrast may create problems in people with kidney diseases, and you will need to undergo certain blood tests to assess your health before your MRI scan. You may be given a mild sedative to help you relax if you feel very nervous and claustrophobic.

The MRI scanner is a cylindrical machine. You will be made to lie on a special bed and slowly moved inside the MRI scanner. Depending on the area being scanned, a frame may be kept over your body. The frame sends and receives signals and help produce better quality images during your MRI scan. You will be instructed to remain still during your scanning procedure, since any movement will affect the quality of the images.

Once you are made comfortable, your doctor will move to the control room and start your procedure using a computer. You will be able to communicate with your doctor at all times and you will be monitored closely throughout your procedure. You may hear loud banging sounds during your procedure. These sounds are made by the electric current in the scanning coils and are quite normal. The total MRI procedure may last anywhere from 15 to 90 minutes depending on the area scanned, and you will be slid out of the scanner and may leave the room once your MRI is completed.

A radiologist will study the images and interpret the results of your MRI scan.