Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI procedure is helpful in determining even a minor abnormality inside the body. It is one of the most helpful and harmless diagnostic procedures. Continue reading to know more about it.
MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a procedure which is helpful for detecting many diseases and conditions. MRI was introduced by Paul C. Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield. The first magnetic resonance imaging test was conducted in the year 1977 which took more than 5 hours. In 2003 MRI got recognition and Paul C. Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield were awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for their outstanding contribution to the medical field. MRI is considered to be one of the most trusted procedures as it can detect even the smallest abnormality in the body.
What is MRI?
MRI is the abbreviation for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. It works with the help of magnetic field and radio frequency. It is a diagnostic procedure which helps in detecting diseases and many different conditions of the body. MRI technology is based on magnetic field and radio frequency. It makes use of the protons present in the hydrogen atoms in our body. These hydrogen atoms are basically present in the form of water molecules.
When magnetic field acts on these protons they tend to align themselves according to the magnetic field. This turns on the second magnetic field which is because of the radio frequency. The protons then absorb the energy emitted by the radio frequency and get excited. Now the radio frequency is turned off. This make the protons to return to their original orbit which further results in the release of energy. The energy released is scanned and can be recorded in the form of images. The protons are continuously charged on and off which makes them visible throughout the procedure.
Medical contrast medium is a substance which is injected in the patient’s body to get a clearer and prominent image. There are very few MRI side effects, hence it is considered to be very safe. MRI can be done for every part of the body like lungs, brain, spinal cord, kidney, heart, blood vessels, sexual organs, pancreas, spleen, etc. There are different MRI procedure codes for images of different parts of the body.
Types of MRI Procedures
There are basically two types of procedures, open procedure and closed procedure. Closed MRI is the most preferred one. But some people feel claustrophobic during the procedure and are unable to stay there for a considerable time. Hence for these people there is an open procedure. This does not have the closed chamber and the images are taken in a room. The procedure is same in both the types. These two are common procedures but nowadays you can get machines which have the combination of both open and closed type of MRI machines.
We have already seen how an MRI machine works. The procedure of taking MRI depends on which part of the body is to be scanned. A metal detection test may be conducted before the MRI in which if you are diagnosed with metal content in the body then the test cannot be performed. Once the doctor has recommended you to get an MRI done, you will be called on a particular day. Before the test you will be asked to remove all the metal items from your body and you will be given a gown to wear. If the test is for bile duct then you may not be allowed to eat or drink anything for 2 to 3 hours before the test.
A contrast or dye may be injected inside the veins which will enhance the image. Well, it can happen both ways, MRI with contrast or without contrast. There will be a loud knocking sound during the procedure which is due to the on and off of the magnetic field. Well, you don’t need to worry as you will be provided with ear plugs to avoid it.
Once the patient is ready, MRI technician will ask him to lie down on a table. Now according to the procedure opted by the patient either he will be sent for an open MRI or closed MRI. In open MRI the magnets will be focused from the side and in closed MRI the patient is asked to lie down on the table which then goes inside a tube which has magnet all around it. Which part will go inside the tube first depends upon which part is to be scanned. If it’s an MRI for knee then legs will go inside first and in case of MRI for brain or neck, the head will go first. The patient is asked not to move at all from his position for 30 – 60 minutes or till the procedure is not completed. In case of children, general anesthesia or sedatives are given to get good images.
Relaxing medications are given to claustrophobic patients at the time of MRI scan. Once the procedure is completed you will be allowed to go home and within a few days you will get the reports.
MRI procedure is a safe and trustworthy diagnostic imaging technique. So, if in future you or any of your near ones go for this test, make sure you understand the procedure and its benefits, prior to the test. Moreover, MRI poses no risk if proper safety instructions are followed.