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What to Expect From an MRI Scan | Daytona Beach Personal Injury Attorney

What to Expect From an MRI Scan

MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. An MRI scan is a radiology technique that uses magnetism, radio waves, and a computer to produce images of body structures.

The MRI scanner is a large tube surrounded by a giant circular magnet. The patient is placed on a moveable bed that is placed into the magnet. The magnet creates a strong magnetic field that aligns the protons of hydrogen atoms, which are then exposed to a beam of radio waves.

This spins the many protons of the body, and they produce a faint signal that is detected by the receiver portion of the MRI scanner. The receiver information is processed by a computer, and an image is developed.

The MRI image and resolution is quite detailed and can detect tiny changes of structures inside the body. For some of these procedures, contrast agents are used to increase the accuracy of the images.

An MRI scan is an extremely accurate method of disease detection in the body. In the head, trauma to the brain, which is often the result of vehicle accidents, can be seen as bleeding or swelling. Other abnormalities that are detected include brain aneurysms, stroke, tumors of the brain, as well as tumors or inflammation of the spine.

Neurosurgeons use these MRI scans to help define brain anatomy, but also to evaluate the integrity of the spinal cord after trauma. It is also used when considering problems associated with the spine’s vertebrae or intervertebral discs.

An MRI scan can also evaluate the structure of the heart and aorta, where it can detect aneurysms or tears. It also provides crucial data on glands and organs within the abdomen, and accurate information about the structure of the bones, soft tissues and joints of the body. Often, surgery can be deferred or more accurately directed after seeing the results of an MRI scan.

MRI scans are a painless radiology technique that also has the advantage of avoiding x-ray radiation exposure. While there are no known side effects of MRI scans, not everyone can take advantage of them.

Patients who have metal implants, heart pacemakers, or metal chips or clips in or around the eyeballs cannot be scanned with an MRI, due to the risk that the magnet may move the metal in these areas. Also, patients with artificial heart valves, metallic ear implants, bullet fragments, and chemotherapy or insulin pumps should not have MRI scanning.

During the MRI scan, a patient lies in a closed area inside the magnetic tube. Some patients may feel a claustrophobic sensation. Therefore, patients with any history of claustrophobia should tell their doctor, as well as the radiology staff. A mild sedative can be given before the MRI scan to help alleviate this feeling. Typicallly, the MRI staff are nearby during each MRI scan. Also, patients are usually given a buzzer during the procedure, which can be used to communicate with the medical staff if the patient feels they cannot tolerate the scan.

After the MRI scan is finished, the computer generates visual images of the area of the body that was scanned. These images can be transferred to film, which is interpreted by a radiologist. The doctor or surgeon who requested the MRI scan receives the interpretation in the form of a report and shares the results with the patient and or family.

For more on medical issues, see the library of articles by Daytona Beach car accident attorney.

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