MRI Scan: Purpose, Procedure, Risks and MRI Scan Cost.
Understanding the MRI Scan
An MRI Scan – an acronym for a Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scan – is a Test process where powerful and controlled magnetic fields, radio waves and computer technology combine to produced highly detailed pictures of the inside of the human body. Since an MRI Scan is usually done on the brain, the procedure or Test is sometimes also simply called a Brain MRI or Cranial MRI. An MRI Scan differs from a CT Scan or X Ray in that it doesn’t involve the ionizing radiation of X-rays, which is known to sometimes leave behind harmful effects over the long term. The biggest advantage that an MRI Scan has (over, say, the CT Scan or Tomography Scan) is that it produces 3D images instead of 2D images through 3D reconstruction is available now for CT scan also. The extra ‘vision’ and ‘understanding’ this additional dimension of depth offers is invaluable for medical purposes – be it diagnosis or treatment. This makes an MRI Scan highly effective (and unmatched) when it comes to analysing small structures of the brain, such as, for example, brain stem or the pituitary gland. An MRI Scan usually doesn’t have any risks associated with it.
How Exactly are the ‘Pictures’ Taken in an MRI Scan?
The MRI Machine generates a strong magnetic field inside the body. A hi-end computer will ‘read’ signals subsequently emanated by the MRI Machine and process them to create a series of pictures or images that displays a thin slice of the body with the clarity of 3 dimensional depth.
Why is an MRI Scan Done?
An MRI Scan lets a doctor access a detailed picture of the tissues, organs and nervous system of the body. A painless and non-invasive Test, an MRI Scan is usually recommended by doctors and medical professionals to check the general health condition (of tissues and organs, for example) or the progress of an ongoing treatment. Here are the various types of MRI Scans out there, and the reasons each is done.
A Brain or Head MRI Scan is done to detect brain conditions such as multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, tumor, stroke, hydrocephalus (a condition where spinal fluid builds up in the brain cavities), cysts, infections, aneurysms (which refers to the bulging of blood vessels in the brain), hormonal ailments (such as Cushing’s Syndrome and Acromegaly), inflammation, cancer, swellings, condition of blood vessels and existing head injuries.
A Brain or Head MRI Scan may also be advised by a medical professional to evaluate intensity of, or study causes for, conditions such as seizures, chronic headaches, blurry vision, weakness, fatigue and dizziness.
A Functional MRI (fMRI) is a special type of MRI. An fMRI is able to pin-point precise spots in the brain that govern body movements as well as speech and language. An fMRI may be conducted to map certain functions of the brain such as blood flow. Changes in the pattern of the blood flow (during certain activities or tasks, such as tapping one’s thumb with one’s fingertips or answering simple questions) can help detect and diagnose problems such as the aftermath (effects) of a stroke or to aid in brain surgery, and chart treatment courses accordingly.
MRA: There is another kind of MRI which is called the MRA. The term technically stands for magnetic resonance angiography. An MRA is employed to study or evaluate the brain’s blood vessels. This study entails use of a contrast agent.
An MRI of the bones and joints is used to investigate any kind of damage to the joints, ailments or issues related to the discs of the spine, bone infection, pain in the neck or lower back, and cancer.
MRI for other organs: An MRI Scan may also be conducted of organs such as liver, kidney, breasts, ovaries, pancreas, prostate and uterus (to evaluate infertility). Essentially MRI Scan can be done for any part of the body and at any age.
What is an MRI Scan with Contrast?
While an MRI Scan will generate clear images of ‘dense organs and structures’ (ie, those with a high density), substances with a low density can turn out hazy and hard to detect. To make the latter more clearly visible, the patient may be administered a special ‘dye’ – technically referred to as a ‘Contrast Material’ – via injection (done to make the liver, gall bladder, urinary tract or blood vessels stand out sharper in the Scan results), orally (to enhance images of the digestive tract) or via Enema (this refers to instances when greater clarity is required for the intestines, and the Contrast Material is inserted through the rectum). To help the kidneys remove the Contrast Material after the procedure is over, one may be advised to drink a lot of fluid. A contrast material is administered only after ansuring patient has normal rena (Kidney) function.
What is the Procedure for an MRI Scan?
BEFORE THE MRI SCAN
Before a decision to taken an MRI Scan can be made, the doctor or medical professional supervising the ‘treatment’ needs to be informed whether the person undergoing MRI Scan has allergies to any medicine or food, any kind of ailment or disease in organs such as the liver or kidney, any condition such as asthma or whether one is pregnant. For an MRI Scan, one will typically be required to visit a hospital or radiology centre. The person will need to change into a gown, or some kind of loose clothing that doesn’t have metal fasteners. An MRI involves magnetic forces, and so one will need to take off items like jewelleries, watches, underwire bra, sunglasses, body piercings, metal tattoos, pens, keys (including keyrings), wigs, pins and the like. Dental fillings and braces are usually considered all right. One will also need to inform the authorities if one is in possession of medical or health related objects or machines that are made of metal. These can be items like vascular stents, pacemaker or defibrillator, normal font (brain aneurysm clip), inner ear implants, artificial joints or limbs made of metal, insulin pumps drug pumps, implanted nerve stimulator and or any particular type of heart valves. The ‘patient’ will also have to disclose if he or she has worked with sheet metal before, or undergone metal shrapnel injury. All these factors will influence whether an MRI Scan can be safely conducted.
DURING THE MRI SCAN
During the actual process of an MRI, the person will need to lie down on a table. The table will then gradually slide into a large cylinder or tube which is enveloped by a magnet and has an opening at either end. A plastic coil may be fitted around the head of the person. The table carrying the patient will go ‘all-in’ the cylindrical magnetic machine – except in the case of a ‘Short Bore System’ where the body does not go entirely inside the MRI Scan machine. One is required to remain as calm and still as possible to expedite the best possible results from the Scan. If this is an issue, straps may be used to hold adults in place. For children, some form of sedation (oral or intravenous) or anaesthesia may be tried. Feelings of claustrophobia – ie, sensations of anxiousness, discomfort or nervousness when surrounded with closed spaces – isn’t uncommon during an MRI Scan, and can particularly happen to people who are overweight or obese. In such cases, some medication prior to the process may be administered to make the person feel more ‘at ease’. Alternatively, an ‘Open MRI’ – a machine that is open on both sides and doesn’t cause an ‘engulfing or entrapping sensation’ – may be the solution. However, an Open MRI Scan won’t produce the same result quality as the normal MRI Scan. The professional or technician in charge may also allow a small break in between, to help one stretch and relax.
When inside the MRI Scan machine, it is not uncommon to hear loud noises, and one may ask for ear-plugs (or even wear non-metallic headphones to lessen the sound impact. It is also common to feel a certain twitching feeling or sensation while the Test is on. This, again, should not be a cause of concern. In case of any discomfort or contingency, there will be a microphone or intercom to talk to the technologist or the staff.
The entire procedure normally takes anywhere between 30 minutes to one hour, after which the individual is normally free to leave.
How Much Does an MRI Scan Cost?
House of Diagnostics offers affordable and quick MRI Scans to ensure your preparedness against ailments and the general well-being of your health. You can book a Test for yourself – or someone else who needs help – in just a few clicks here.
Diagnostics Tests And Path Lab facilities Available At House of Diagnostics (HOD).
Read more about MRI Scan, procedure, purpose, risks and MRI Scan cost in Delhi NCR. A Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scan is a test process where powerful and controlled magnetic fields, radio waves and computer technology combine to produce highly detailed pictures of the inside of the human body.