Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an examination that uses a magnetic field and radio wave energy to display images of structures and organs in the body. Image from the MRI can help physicians diagnose a wide range of issues related to your health.
In an MRI test, the part of the body to be scanned is placed on a machine that has a very strong magnetic force.
The images produced from an MRI are digital photos that can be stored on a computer and printed for further study. Images from the results of an MRI examination also tend to be more detailed when compared to a CT-Scan.
This is the Reason for MRI
In addition to helping doctors diagnose health problems, MRI examinations can also be used as a determinant of treatment steps and evaluate the effectiveness of therapy. MRI is generally performed on:
1. Brain and spinal cord
Some diseases of the brain and spinal cord that can be diagnosed by MRI include stroke , tumors, aneurysms, multiple sclerosis, accidental brain injury, inflammation of the spinal cord, and eye and inner ear disorders.
In addition, MRI can also be used to see whether surgery on the brain is needed or not.
2. Heart and blood vessels
An MRI performed on the heart or blood vessels aims to look at several things, such as the size and function of the heart chambers, the thickness and movement of the walls of the heart, and the degree of damage from a heart attack or heart disease.
MRI can also be used to detect structural problems in the arteries, such as weakened or torn blood vessel walls as well as inflammation and blockage of the arteries.
3. Bones and joints
In the area of bones and joints, MRI can help evaluate conditions such as bone infections, abnormalities of the spine and spinal cord, tumors of the bones and soft tissues, and joint inflammation.
An MRI may also be done to detect abnormal conditions in the joints caused by the injury.
An MRI scan may be performed in women who are at high risk of breast cancer or in women who have dense breast tissue. MRI is usually used as a complement to mammography to detect cancer cells in the breast.
5. Other internal organs
MRI can also be used to detect tumors or other disorders in various internal organs, including the liver, kidneys, spleen, pancreas, uterus, ovaries, prostate and testes.
Calculating the Risks of an MRI
Unlike X-rays and CT scans, MRI does not use X-ray radiation in the process. This means people who are exposed to radiation risks, such as pregnant women, can have an MRI.
MRI is also painless and so far there is no evidence that magnetic fields and radio waves from MRI cause side effects. However, some patients may experience shortness of breath while lying in the MRI machine.
For example, in people with a phobia of narrow spaces or claustrophobia , they may experience shortness of breath when undergoing an MRI, so it is better to discuss this complaint with the doctor or medical officer in charge of the radiology room.
It is possible that the medical officer will give you a sedative before the MRI examination to reduce fear or anxiety.
What also needs to be known is that an MRI examination cannot be performed on everyone, for example in patients whose bodies are fitted with metal aids. In addition to safety concerns, metals present in the body are likely to interfere with the images produced by MRI, so the results from MRI can be inaccurate.
So, inform your doctor or medical officer if you have metal or electronic devices attached to your body, such as:
- cochlear implant in ear
- implanted cardiac defibrillator
- artificial heart valves ( artificial heart valves )
- artificial joint made of metal ( metallic joint prostheses )
- metal clip ( metal clip ) or metal ring on the vein
For those who have impaired kidney or liver function, further consultation with the medical team is required before the MRI. The reason is, there is an MRI scan process that requires contrast fluid to get better results, which is feared to worsen kidney or liver conditions.
For those who have tattoos, you should also tell your doctor before an MRI examination is performed. The ink on the tattoo may affect the results of the examination.
MRI Preparation Steps
Before undergoing an MRI exam, you can eat normally and take medications as usual, unless your doctor advises otherwise.
Before the examination, you will be asked to wear special clothes provided by the hospital. You will also be asked to remove any jewelry or objects that stick to your body, such as rings, earrings, necklaces, watches, or hair clips.
The medical staff will also ask you to remove any metal braces, glasses, hearing aids, or dentures that you are wearing.
Scanning Process with MRI
In the center of the tube-shaped MRI machine, there is a bed that can be moved in and out while you are being examined. The MRI will be operated through a computer located in a separate room to avoid the magnetic field from the scanning machine.
During the examination, you can communicate with the medical personnel operating the MRI device via the intercom. They will also monitor you through a television monitor.
During the examination, the MRI device will generate an electric current from the scanner coil and will emit a loud sound. Wearing earplugs or headphones can help reduce noise and discomfort.
During the scan, avoid moving and try to stay still for 15−90 minutes. The duration depends on the area of the body being examined and how many images are needed.
In an MRI, which is specifically for assessing brain function you may be asked to do certain things, such as pressing your thumb against the fingers of the other hand, rubbing sandpaper, or answering simple questions. The goal is to find out if there is a problem in the part of the brain that controls the action.
If the MRI is not accompanied by sedation, after completing the scanning process, you can immediately return to activities. On the other hand, if you are given a sedative, you need to wait until the reaction goes away.
Although MRI scans are relatively safe with little risk, some people should reconsider their use. Always consult your doctor about whether or not you need to undergo an MRI examination in a hospital.