Do You Need an MRI? What You Should Know About Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

What is an MRI examination?

MRI is a test that usually takes 20 minutes to an hour and does not cause any type of pain. Before your appointment for the examination, you and the specialist will revise and update your medical history, and you will be able to ask any questions you may have.

This advanced technology produces images of the body’s internal organs, for example, tissues, bones, and other parts of the body. MRI creates clearer images and higher contrast than other technologies used for taking images. This makes the diagnostic process easier.

MRI is different from radiographs because it does not make use of ionising radiation. It is safe for babies and pregnant women. MRI uses magnetic fields and radiofrequency waves which create clear and detailed images. MRI generates hundreds of three-dimensional images in one shot.

There are other variants such as magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) and magnetic resonance imaging to study blood vessels. With this technology, it is possible to take pictures of the blood vessels of the brain, neck, pelvis, legs, and renal arteries. Your doctor may request an MRA to diagnose blood flow problems.

The process of getting an MRI is, generally, similar in most facilities offering the service, whether you have a private MRI in London or through another healthcare provider.

A licensed and certified radiologist will examine the MRI or MRA results and inform your doctor of the results.

During the exam

MRI is not painful and takes between 20 and 60 minutes. During this time, you will be asked to lie on a table and remain motionless to be able to take clear images. Through an intercom you will be able to talk with the technician, and, typically, you can even listen to music to keep you relaxed.

Sometimes, it is necessary to use a special medical ink to highlight specific body parts. Typically, this contrast material is administered intravenously. In cases where your procedure requires the application of this contrast, you will be notified in advance.

Do not worry about the noises you hear during the exam. The scanner makes noises when taking and recording the images.

Before your arrival

Prior to your MRI, you will be called, and your appointment will be confirmed. Also, your medical records will be discussed, and you will be provided with additional information regarding the MRI, and any questions you might have will be answered.

For most MRI exams, it is not necessary to be in a fasted state, however, you may be asked to come with an empty stomach in the case of an MRI of the abdomen.

You must take the medications your doctor has prescribed, including any pain medication you take on a regular basis, so you will be as comfortable as possible during the MRI procedure.

After your exam

When the radiologist has reviewed the results of your exam, they will send a report of the results to your doctor. If your doctor requests it in advance, they will be sent an immediate report.

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