Everything about MRI scan. The abbreviation MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Magnetic Resonance Imaging. With the help of a large strong magnet and radio waves, certain signals are generated in the body, which is received by an antenna (so no X-rays are used). A computer processes the signals into an image that can be viewed on a screen.
With this technique, sections of the body or certain organs can easily be made as if they had been cut into slices. The images can also be printed. The screen and computer are located in a room next to the examination room. The scanning device is operated from here.
Side effects and risks of an MRI scan
In general, an MRI scan has no side effects, but there are certain risks for some people. An MRI cannot be performed if there are small metal particles in or on the body, such as a metal particle in the eye; implants in the ears and metal vascular clips in the head. It is also not possible to undergo an MRI scan with implanted electronic equipment, such as a pacemaker or a subcutaneous insulin pump and with certain heart valves . MRI scans are also not performed during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Other metal objects, such as a piercing, can be dangerous or damage the equipment. Orthopedic prostheses, screws or plates interfere with the equipment, making the images less clear, especially if these materials are close to the body part to be examined.
Some people find it uncomfortable to have to lie still on their back for the duration of the examination (15 to 60 minutes). If you think this will cause problems for you (for example pain complaints), you can indicate this in advance. To ensure that you are not bothered by the sound from the scanner, you must put on a hearing protector. During the examination you will have contact with the laboratory technician via an intercom and you can stop the examination if you wish. Some people find it annoying to lie in a tunnel. There are also MRI scanners without a tunnel or with a tunnel that is shorter and has a larger diameter.
Contrast agent for MRI scan examination
Sometimes it is necessary to inject the contrast agent gadolineum through a blood vessel in the arm. This contrast agent makes certain tissues more visible. Sometimes it only becomes clear during the examination that it is necessary to use contrast medium. Gadolineum does not contain iodine and does not give a heat sensation like some contrast agents that are used in the CT technique. In rare cases, gadolineum causes harmless side effects such as watery stools, intestinal cramps, nausea and vomiting. There are drugs that can reverse these side effects.
Preparation for an MRI scan examination
Usually, one can eat and drink as usual for the examination. It is wise to inquire about this. No metal objects may be brought into the examination room. It is useful to leave as much stuff at home as possible. Think for example of Hairpins, Pens / Pencils, Metal zipper/buttons, Metal braces in bra, Belt, Safety pins, Coins, and Jewelry. The following properties are also not allowed in the scanning room: Glasses, Dentures, Hearing aid, Shoes, Watch, All cards with a magnetic stripe/debit card/parking card, etc., Wallet, Keys.
When the examination takes place in the head or neck area, it is important not to use make-up and/or hairspray. This may contain substances that can influence the magnetic field. You can bring warm pajamas or jogging suits (without metal parts) to avoid getting cold before or during the examination.
The procedure during an MRI scan examination
During the examination it is important to lie as still as possible and to relax as much as possible. The only thing that is noticeable from the investigation is a loud tapping when the recordings are made (there is the option to wear a hearing protector). During the examination, a laboratory technician watches and keeps in touch via an intercom. If something is wrong, the lab technician can also be warned by pressing a button. Depending on the amount of information the specialist wants to have, the total examination will take about half an hour to one hour.
Separate MRI scans
Parts of your body can also be examined with an MRI scan. For example, an MRI scan of only your head, upper and lower abdominal organs, joints or the heart and blood vessels. The following separate MRI scans may apply to certain complaints and examinations:
- MRI scan head and brain.
Complaints: Headache, dizziness, hearing loss, chronic respiratory complaints, sinus problems, speech and movement disorders. Investigations: Risk of cerebral infarction and cerebral haemorrhage, tumors benign and malignant, inflammation.
- MRI scan of the spine
Complaints: Pain (radiating pain), pain under load, tingling in limbs or groin, numbness in legs, back pain, (radiating) pain in the hands and/or fingers. Investigations: Osteoporosis, hernia, wear and tear, deformities, Whiplash (injury).
- MRI scan of the cervical spine
Complaints: Pain (radiating pain), pain under load, (radiating) pain in the hands and / or fingers. Investigations: Osteoporosis, hernia, wear and tear, deformities, Whiplash (injury).
- MRI scan chest spine
Complaints: Pain (radiating pain), pain under load, back pain. Investigations: Osteoporosis, hernia, wear and tear, deformities.
- MRI scan lumbar spine
Complaints: Pain (radiating pain), pain under load, tingling in limbs or groin, numbness in legs. Investigations: Osteoporosis, hernia, wear and tear, deformities.
- MRI scan shoulder
Complaints: Shoulder complaints whether or not following trauma, bursitis, movement restriction. Investigations: Joint, cartilage, muscles, tendons.
- MRI scan of the elbow wrist
Complaints: Wrist complaints, whether or not following trauma, swelling, movement restriction. Investigations: Joint, cartilage, muscles, tendons.
- MRI scan pelvis and hip
Complaints: Hip complaints, whether or not following trauma, swelling, movement restrictions. Investigations: Joint, cartilage, muscles, tendons.
- MRI scan knee
Complaints: Knee complaints, whether or not following trauma, lock complaints, moisture in the knee, swelling, movement restrictions. Investigations: Joint, cartilage, muscles, tendons.
- MRI scan of the foot and ankle
Complaints: Ankle complaints, whether or not following trauma, fluid in the ankle, swelling, movement restrictions. Investigations: Joint, cartilage, muscles, tendons.
- MRI scan upper abdomen (Thorax)
Complaints: Abdominal complaints, gall and kidney stones, chronic inflammation. Investigations: Lungs, liver, gallbladder, kidneys, pancreas, thyroid, adrenal glands, spleen and lymph nodes. Presence of tumors, kidney and gallstones, cysts and enlargement of organs and glands.
- MRI scan lower abdomen (Abdomen)
Complaints: Bladder problems (pain, blood loss or frequent urination), menstrual complaints, chronic inflammation, joint complaints, weight loss, anemia. Investigations: Abdominal organs, prostate (man), uterus and ovaries (woman), bladder, pelvic and hip joints. Presence of tumors, cysts, other shape changes.
See also, Ultrasound scan during pregnancy
- MRI scan of carotid arteries (carotids).
Complaints: Headache, dizziness, ringing in the ears, disorders of the musculoskeletal system / motor skills / speech, paralysis symptoms. Investigations: Blockage of the neck and arteries, strictures (stenoses), aneurysm, cerebral infarction, cerebral haemorrhage, tia
- MRI scan blood vessels body angiography
Complaints: Headache, dizziness, ringing in the ears, pain in legs when walking, musculoskeletal / motor / speech disorders, facial paralysis, shortness of breath with / without exertion, pressure on chest, organ problems. Investigations: Blockage of veins throughout the body, narrowing of veins, arteriosclerosis, plaque formation, aneurysms in arteries or aorta, tired legs, cerebral haemorrhage / tia, blood flow to the abdominal organs.
- Stress MRI scan
Complaints: Heart complaints, fatigue, chest pain, stabbing pain in arm (s), shortness of breath. Investigations: Heart and coronary arteries, cardiac function (under load), aorta (arch), vein narrowing, cardiac function test.
- MRI scan prostate
Complaints: High PSA value, abdominal pain and difficulty urinating, frequent urination. Investigations: Presence of prostate enlargement, prostatitis, prostate cancer.
- MRI scan breasts (mammography)
Complaints: Lump, tenderness / pain in the chest (s). Investigations: Breasts and lymph nodes, presence of tumors, cysts and inflammation.
MRI scan head and brain
When is an MRI scan of the head and brain advisable? The following questions may indicate an indication for a head, brain or skull examination using an MRI scanner:
- Cerebral circulatory disorders (especially also for early detection of a decrease in blood flow in the first hours of a stroke, including any necessary MRI angiography of the blood vessels of the head and neck without a catheter).
- Vascular strictures or widening.
- Inflammatory disorders of the brain and meninges (such as multiple sclerosis), eye sockets and facial skull.
- Degenerative disorders of the brain, such as Alzheimer’s syndrome.
- Inflammatory and degenerative disorders of the head and jaw joints.
- Tumors and malformations.
- Metabolic disorders.
- Subsequent consequences of an accident.
- Consequences of metabolic disorders.
- Childhood Developmental Disorders.
Indications for a CT scan of the skull Depending on the research question, a computer tomographic (CT scan) examination of the skull may also be necessary in individual cases. In acute accidents, for example when there is a demand for cerebral hemorrhages and other brain injuries, an MRI scan may be preferred for this indication.
MRI scan of the spine (neck, chest and lumbar vertebrae)
An MRI scan is a good method to detect spinal (back) disorders of the spine. The cervical spine, thoracic spine and lumbar spine can be optimally assessed using an MRI scan. Conditions that can lead to back pain, such as a hernia, protrusion of the intervertebral discs or strictures (stenosis) can be diagnosed in the MRI.
When is an MRI scan of the spine (back) advisable? The following questions may indicate an indication for a back examination using an MRI scanner:
- Bulging intervertebral discs.
- Inflammation of the intervertebral discs, the back muscles or the nervous tissue.
- Narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal canal osteoarthritis).
- Unstable vertebrae.
- Wearing of the vertebral joints (osteoarthritis).
- Injury to spinal cord and spinal nerves.
- Tumors or metastases in the spinal cord.
- Inflammatory changes of the spinal cord (e.g. multiple sclerosis, transverse myelitis). MRI is the only imaging method that can display the spinal cord directly and in high quality over the entire course (from the head to the end of the spinal cord, the cone medullaris).
- Muscles next to the back spine.
MRI scan of the cervical spine
An MRI scan is a good method for detecting disorders of the cervical spine. The cervical spine can be optimally assessed using an MRI scan. Conditions that can lead to neck pain, such as protrusions of the intervertebral discs or strictures (stenosis), can be diagnosed in the MRI.
When is an MRI scan of the cervical spine advisable? The following complaints may be an indication for a neck examination using an MRI scanner:
- Neck pain, torticollis or a stiff neck.
- Facial pain.
- Shoulder pain or ‘frozen shoulder’.
- Tingling in the arm or hand, cold hands.
- Loss of strength in the arm or hand.
- Shortness of breath.
MRI scan chest spine
An MRI scan is a good method to detect disorders of the thoracic spine. The chest spine can be optimally assessed using an MRI scan. Conditions that can lead to chest pain, such as protrusions of the intervertebral discs or strictures (stenosis), can be diagnosed in the MRI.
When is an MRI scan of the thoracic spine advisable? The following complaints can be an indication for a breast examination using an MRI scanner:
- Pain (radiating pain), pain under load.
- Radiance to the fingers when extending the arm forward.
- Upset stomach.
MRI scan lumbar spine
An MRI scan is a good method for detecting disorders of the lumbar spine. The lumbar spine can be optimally assessed using an MRI scan. Conditions that can cause lumbar pain, such as protrusions of the intervertebral discs or strictures (stenosis), can be diagnosed in the MRI.
When is an MRI scan of the lumbar spine advisable? The following complaints may be an indication for an examination of the lumbar region using our ultramodern MRI scanner:
- Pain (radiating pain), pain under load.
- Tingling in limbs or groin.
- Numbness in legs.
MRI scan shoulder
The aim in treatment of shoulder pain and the resulting conditions is mainly to restore undisturbed function. Due to the complexity of the joint, the treatment of shoulder pain must be very careful and the treating physician must have extensive experience.
Osteoarthritis as a cause of shoulder pain The most common conditions are osteoarthritis and degenerative changes of the shoulder, inflammation, joint injuries, rotator cuff changes or injuries, fractures or dislocations often associated with severe pain in the shoulder. Surgery can often be prevented for shoulder disorders. Conservative treatment (that is, without surgery) can range from drug and physical treatment to targeted treatment with injections directly into the diseased areas.
MRI scan knee
The knee is a joint that is heavily loaded, especially during intensive sports, exercise or overweight. Complaints to the knee can have many different causes. A targeted quickly gives you comprehensive information about the type of injury to your knee.
When is an MRI scan of the knee advisable? The following questions may indicate an indication for a joint examination using an MRI scanner:
- Examine knee ligament, cruciate ligament, or lateral ligament injuries.
- Examine meniscal tear in knee joint area after fall or after exercise.
- Investigate fractures.
- Assess very minor damage to the cartilage.
- Diagnosis of joint splinters.
- Assessment of rheumatic diseases.
- Diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis: changes to cartilage (erosion) can be recognized earlier and soft tissue disorders such as joint inflammation (synovitis) and inflammation of the tendon sheath (tenosynovitis) can be immediately displayed.
- Knee damage due to tumor or inflammation.
- To primarily determine a tumor in the bone.
MRI scan upper abdomen lower abdomen (abdomen) and pelvic organs
Abdominal organs such as the liver, bile, bile ducts, pancreas and spleen can be examined very accurately with an MRI scan. This includes finding conditions and diseases of the kidneys, urinary tract, bladder, uterus, ovaries and prostate. Because the MRI scan works on the basis of magnetic resonances, it does not use harmful X-rays and is therefore preferred when determining the examination method to be used.
An MRI scan of the upper abdomen, lower abdomen or pelvis is mainly made if there are abdominal complaints or if other examination methods, such as an ultrasound or a CT scan, cannot be clearly diagnosed. In such cases, an MRI scan provides valuable additional information with which a proper diagnosis can be made.
The MRI scan is mainly used for the diagnosis of cancer (tumors and metastases) in the entire abdomen (consisting of the upper abdomen and lower abdomen) and the pelvis, but with the exception of the stomach and intestinal tract. Applications for which the MRI scan is used include:
- Preventive in the context of a Total Body Scan.
- Excluding and detecting round foci in organs
- Diseases of the gallbladder, bile ducts and duct (pancreatic, stones).
- Exclusion and detection of tumors (carcinoma) and metastases (metastases).
- Examination of the kidneys and adrenal glands, liver, spleen and pancreas.
- Examination of the aorta and blood vessels.
- Uterus and ovaries.
- Prostate research (inflammation, carcinoma, enlargement).
- Examination of the lymph nodes.
MRI scan of carotid arteries (carotids)
With an MRI scan of the carotid arteries (carotids), strictures can be recognized and timely measures can be taken against a tia or a stroke. A targeted investigation of abnormalities in the neck blood vessels by means of an MRI scan has a high accuracy in the diagnosis of an abnormality in the blood vessels in the neck at an early stage.
Brief explanation of carotid arteriesThe circulatory system in our body aims to transport oxygen and other components from the heart to the tissues. The arteries, also called arteries, are the blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the tissues. The veins, on the other hand, also called veins, are the blood vessels that carry oxygen-depleted blood from the tissues back to the heart. This then pumps the blood to the lungs, where oxygen can be absorbed again. The carotid arteries (carotid arteries) are the arteries that run in the front of the neck, along the larynx, and carry blood to the brain. In addition, there are two small arteries (vertebral arteries) that run along the vertebrae of the neck and take care of the rest. These four arteries together form a kind of roundabout of blood vessels in the head.
MRI scan of blood vessels (MRI angiography)
With an MRI scan of blood vessels (MRI angiography), narrowing in the blood vessels can be recognized and timely measures can be taken against a stroke or myocardial infarction. A targeted examination of abnormalities in the blood vessels by means of an MRI angiography has a high accuracy in the diagnosis of an abnormality in the blood vessels at an early stage.
Brief explanation of the vascular system and the risk of vascular disorders The vascular system is also called the highway of the human body, because it supplies all cells of the body with blood and nutrients. A necessary condition for a vital life is therefore properly functioning blood vessels. To determine the condition of the blood vessels, an angiography by means of an MRI scan is performed.
The neck vessels, the so-called carotids, are of particular importance because they supply the brain with blood and, if occluded, can lead to a stroke. The representation of the vessels of the pelvis and legs is also becoming increasingly important, because circulation disorders often occur, which often also cause impotence in men. To rule out the risk of a myocardial infarction, the control of the coronary arteries is very important. These vessels supply the heart with blood, but over time they can constrict themselves due to calcium and fat deposits and can even be completely closed, causing a heart attack.
Stress MRI scan heart
With a stress MRI scan of your heart, narrowing of the coronary arteries can be recognized and timely measures can be taken against, for example, a heart attack or cardiac arrest. A targeted investigation of coronary artery abnormalities by means of a stress MRI scan of the heart has a high accuracy in the diagnosis of a narrowing in the coronary arteries.
Stress MRI scan heart: how is the examination going? Before the examination actually starts, 2 infusions are first applied: 1 for the contrast agent and 1 to widen the vessels and to load the heart, so that the heart starts working faster. Patches are also placed on the chest that are connected to the ECG machine, so that one can see whether the heart shows any abnormalities during the MRI scan. During the stress MRI scan of the heart, it is checked for:
- Heart function.
- Muscle functioning and inflammation control.
- Heart valves.
Contrast agent During the examination itself, the first contrast agent is administered and a few images of the heart muscle are taken to see whether there are traces of a myocardial infarction and whether there is dead scar tissue or poor blood flow. After that, additional images are taken to see for what percentage the heart is still pumping blood. Before the heart-burdening agent is administered, it is first checked whether there is an inflammation in the heart muscle. In addition, the amount of this medicine depends on your body weight.
MRI scan prostate
During the diagnosis of the prostate with an MRI scan, the prostate tissue is displayed very accurately. In addition, special measurements have been developed with which very fine images of the prostate can be made. The patient is dressed in the MRI scan and does not have to undergo an unpleasant rectal procedure. A targeted MRI scan of the prostate has a very high accuracy in the diagnosis of prostate enlargement, prostate inflammation or prostate cancer at an early stage.
When is an MRI scan of the prostate advised?
- If the PSA value is higher than 4 nanograms per millimeter (ng / ml).
- If you have to urinate relatively often.
- For pain in the lower abdomen and problems urinating.
MRI scan breasts – MRI mammography – breast MRI
The MRI mammography (MRI breast, MRI scan of the breasts) is the most accurate method to detect breast cancer. Compared to traditional mammography, MRI mammography is not only completely free of X-rays, but also completely painless. A targeted breast MRI, MRI scan of the breasts . has a very high accuracy in the diagnosis of a tumor at an early stage.
According to an international study, breast MRI recognizes particularly aggressive tumors very well. With the MRI mammography, almost twice as many cases of pre-stage breast cancer were recognized than with the X-ray mammography. In addition, women with particularly dense glandular tissue could also be examined without problems and tumors could be distinguished from tissue very well, in contrast to X-ray mammography.
When is a breast MRI recommended?
In general, this gentle and highly reliable method of breast cancer prevention is suitable for every woman – the mommy MRI is especially useful from the age of 30. These concerns, on the one hand, women who attach great importance to precaution with regard to their health, and, on the other hand, everyone with a family burden. Furthermore, this highly modern and established research method is suitable for all women who have already undergone breast surgery, in order to be able to distinguish between scar tissue and new tumors. If breast cancer is known, the MRI scan of breasts is suitable for excluding or excluding further tumors. as a follow-up control during chemotherapy.
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