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What is MRI all about?

Posted by : Mr. Sreehari Nair, 07 Aug 2013 12:15 PM
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Dr. Nirad Mehta talks gives a lowdown on what is MRI and its significance in the medical world

What is MRI? Why you shouldn’t be scared of…

MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. It is a test to obtain detailed images of the human body. An MRI machine uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the body. There is no ionizing radiation, so it is not harmful.

Why is an MRI done? What does MRI reveal?

An MRI scans the body in multiple planes and thus helps a doctor to examine organs, tissues and the skeletal system. The MRI gives high resolution images and thus can differentiate various tissue components. MRI is the most sensitive exam for brain tumors.

What is the difference between MRI and CT scan?

CT scan are X-rays which along with the computer assisted reconstructions can give images on transverse plane. Since they are X-rays, things are black and white and soft tissue contrast is not as good as MRI. MRI has the capability of manipulating the soft tissue contrast. Thus MRI’s give a clearer picture to doctors to diagnose.

To whom all are an MRI suggested?

Except for lungs, MRI can be done from head to toe. It all depends upon the severity of the issue a doctors feels for the need of MRI to be performed. 

What preparations to take before going for an MRI?

A patient scheduled to undergo MRI need not undergo any special preparation unless said by the doctor/dietician to fast. The MRI machine is made up of huge magnets so one would have to leave behind all metal objects worn as accessories.   

Please tell the MRI staff if you have any of these items in your body.

·         Pacemaker

·         Artificial heart valve

·         Implanted defibrillator

·         Brain aneurysm clips

·         Medicine patches

·         Implantable pump

·         Neurostimulator or TENS

·         Eye or ear implant

·         Hearing aids

·         IUD

·         Metallic implant

·         Artificial body parts

·         Stent, coil, filter

·         Breast or penile implants

·         Implanted shunts

Who shouldn’t be undergoing MRI?

Those people who have a metallic implant in their body cannot undergo MRI. Likewise, women who are pregnant (especially those in the first trimester), people with electrical nerve stimulators and those with severe claustrophobia are also advised against MRI.

Should I be comparing hospitals/centres to take MRI or can I get it done from any MRI centre?

Hinduja Hospital has acquired the latest MRI . They are the first digital broadband MRI machine. It is the First hospital in the Western Region of India to have introduced the digital broadband MRI with soothing ambient themes. On comparing centres, at most you can do is ask for how old the machine is. Many a times, patients come with MRI reports which are not as detailed as we want and so have to ask for one more to be done. This is because as technology upgrades, certain things which weren’t clear in the earlier machines is now clear in the new machine.

What is the latest in MRI and what advances are happening in the MRI segment?

Technology in the MRI segment is growing at a rapid rate. Functional imaging – where one can actually see what part of the brain is active during what thoughts is possible. This is the level of advancement. Even the chemical constituents in the body can be neatly identified. The technology will keep evolving.

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