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How Does An MRI Make Brain Images?

MRI scans [magnetic resonance imaging] are brain scans that are both safe and painless and use magnetic fields and radio waves to create images of the brain, and the brain’s stem. MRI scans are the preferred method of imaging for many and are much favoured over CAT [computed axial tomography] scans, as MRI scans do not use radiation. MRI scans are used to detect a number of conditions, from cancerous tumours, cysts, to swelling, and inflammation. MRI scans are able to determine whether or not the brain has suffered an injury and can establish whether or not somebody has had a stroke.

Additionally, MRI scans can provide clearer images of some parts of the brain than CAT scans, ultrasounds, and X-rays can. Because of this, MRI scans are a very valuable part in diagnosing problems of the brain and the rest of the body. This page will hope to tell you how the MRI makes images of the brain and will explain to you how MRI scans work in further detail than has been briefly offered to you in this introduction. If you are due an MRI scan, rest easy, for MRI scans are safe and simple. There are no health risks associated with these scans, nor side effects.

How does an MRI make brain images and what is the procedure like? Let’s find out, shall we?

MRI Machines

Magnetic resonance imaging machines use magnetic fields and radio waves to create images of organs in your body. The images created by these machines are very detailed and can also be 3D. The machines themselves are professionally serviced and maintained, ensuring nothing goes wrong and that scans are carried out flawlessly, and according to, any repairs that do need to be made, can be made quickly, which ensures that scans do not need to be delayed and that the machines can be up-and-running again fast. MRI machines are used for a number of reasons and are inarguably a very important part of our healthcare industry.

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The Procedure

To truly understand the MRI process, we must discuss the procedure that takes place. It is very straightforward and has very few complications associated with it. The first step in the MRI process is preparation, which we will now move onto:


Oftentimes, no real preparation is required. However, before an MRI scan, you will have to remove any metal objects [glasses, jewelry], as they can create blank spots on the images. You will also be asked questions about your health and whether or not you have any internal metal from surgery in the past that may cause a problem with the magnetic field of the MRI machine. Phones, pads, and other electronic devices are not allowed in the MRI room, as they can interfere with the radio waves.

During an MRI scan, you will need to lie completely still. Because of this, children and young babies are often sedated, as they have trouble lying completely still, or maybe claustrophobic. Sedation may also be an option if you have trouble with enclosed spaces. If you do opt for sedation, the sedative will be administered through an IV line into your body. You will also have to fast from the evening before so that the stomach is empty for the sedation.


The Scan

MRI scans often take just over half an hour to complete. During the scan, you will be lying on a table attached to a roller that moves up and down. A coil [a plastic device] will be wrapped around your head, and the table will roll into a cylindrical tunnel. Once inside the tunnel, the operator of the machine will begin to take the images. In some cases, you may be given a contrast solution through an intravenous line. The solution is completely pain-free and will highlight areas of the brain so doctors are able to see specific areas. You will be asked whether or not you have any allergies before the solution is administered. Allergic reactions are rare, however. Sometimes afterwards dizziness is experienced, also.

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While the scan takes place, the machine makes noises, which are normal, but for some, can be a source of anxiety. If you are worried about this, you can request headphones from the technician. You will also have a button inside to press if you begin to feel uncomfortable during the test. When finished, your scan results can take a while to return. The images must be read by a doctor before they return so that they can determine if anything is wrong.

With the help of this page, you should now know how an MRI scan takes place, and what the process is. MRI scans are nothing to fear. Hopefully, you never need one, and if you do, your scan comes back negative.

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