Taking good care of your health is highly essential no matter what season of the year it is. Having good health results in a longer and happier life as you don’t have any health issues to be concerned about, allowing you to do the things you’ve wanted to do. However, sooner or later, things will change, and you’ll feel ill eventually.
In an unfortunate event that you’ve become sick, your doctor would be coming to the rescue. Your doctors are there to help you recover from your illness and go back to normal. However, if they’re having difficulty diagnosing your condition, they need to conduct an MRI scan to analyze further what you’re going through.
What Is MRI?
MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, is a large machine that people go through to diagnose any underlying illness they may have. MRI works by using magnetism, radio waves, and a computer that produces images of a person’s body structure.
The MRI machine is a large lying tube, with a hole and sliding table in the middle area. While inside the MRI machine, the patient shouldn’t make any sudden movements so that the machine could take proper images of the body. The patient should hear clanging noise while the scan is in progress, and that’s completely normal, and it means that the machine is working. If the patient feels uncomfortable, they can immediately inform the MRI technician as the MRI machine isn’t closed, which allows for easy communication.
What Is An MRI Used For?
As mentioned earlier, the reason why a doctor conducts an MRI scan on a patient is to allow them to see a more detailed image of a person, which will enable them to diagnose the health condition of their patient.
There could be different purposes as to why a patient needs an MRI scan. A full-body MRI scanning feature allows the machine to scan a person’s health by detecting any cancer possibilities for up to 14 organs in the body for only an hour. Aside from this, the MRI scan can help to detect the following:
For brain or spinal cord MRI scanning:
- Blood vessel damage
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Eye problems
- Inner ear problems
- Brain aneurys
For heart MRI scanning:
- Congenital heart defect
- Coronary heart disease
- Damage from a heart attack
- Heart failure
- Heart valve defect
For bones and joints MRI scanning:
- Bone infection
- Inflammatory disease
- Congenital abnormality
- Bone marrow disease
- Herniation or degeneration of the spinal cord’s discs
- Damage to the joints
- Disk problems in the spine
- Neck or low back pain, which includes nerve signs
For a more detailed imaging of the blood vessels, an MRA (magnetic resonance angiography) helps capture and evaluate blood vessels, as well as identify abnormalities.
How To Prepare For An MRI Scan
When you’re about to undergo an MRI scan, you need to be well-prepared so you could help in producing better images for your MRI scan results. However, if you have any metal inside your body, you may not proceed with the MRI scan, and your doctor should suggest a different alternative route on how they could make a proper diagnosis.
Before proceeding with the MRI scan and after you’ve confirmed that you don’t have any metals inside your body, you should inform your doctor if you:
- Are pregnant or suspect that you are
- Recently had surgery
- Have any food or medicine allergies
- Have asthma or any health problems, such as kidney, heart, or liver disease
It’s crucial that you try to be very transparent with your doctor in all of your health conditions as it could affect your MRI scan results, or it could put you at risk. You should also inform all of the procedures you’ve gone through, including any dental work. If you have any tattoos, you should tell your doctor as well as some inks contain metal.
On the day of the MRI scan, you should wear loose clothing that doesn’t have any metals on it. Some hospitals require you to change into a hospital gown just to be sure. You should also remove cellphone, coins, jewelry, eyeglasses, watch, dentures, underwire bra, hearing aids, keys, and wig.
If you’re claustrophobic or don’t like closed spaces, you can inform your doctor, and they could hold an open MRI or give you medicine to help you calm down before your test.
What Happens During The MRI Scan
Sometimes, patients might receive a contrast liquid through IV (intravenous), which would allow for better visibility of the structure of your body, while it could leave a metal taste in your mouth.
During your MRI scan, you’ll be lying on the MRI machine’s table, and you could be strapped on to keep you from moving while the scanning is in progress. It’s vital that you hold still during your scan as it could provide inaccurate results. As you’re lying on the table, either half of or your entire body will be inserted into the MRI machine, depending on the body parts that need to be scanned. If you’re having a brain MRI scan, the bottom half of your body would be staying outside.
While you’re inside the machine, you’ll be hearing a loud thumping or banging sound during the scan. The sound you’ll hear is the sound of the machine capturing images of your body. If you feel uncomfortable with the loud sounds, you may ask for earplugs or headphones to minimize the sounds, allowing you to be more comfortable.
How An MRI Machine Works
A person’s body contains water molecules that are composed of hydrogen and oxygen atoms. At the center of each atom is a proton, which is highly sensitive to any magnetic field. Usually, these molecules are arranged randomly in your body, but inside the machine, they can go in one direction.
The patient won’t feel anything while this is happening inside the MRI machine, but the machine can detect and capture the images to release accurate results.
Going through an MRI scan might be scary, most especially when it’s your first time. However, this process will help your doctor further identify any current issues that are going on inside your body. It could even help determine if a person has cerebral palsy at an early age. In light of this, you should inform your doctor beforehand if you have any metal implants, are pregnant, or if you’re suffering from any disease to further evaluate if it’s safe for you to proceed with the MRI scan.