Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a method of scanning the human body with strong magnetic fields and radio waves to obtain high quality images that help diagnose a wide range of human conditions.
What is MRI? MRI scanners are large bagel-shaped devices. For scanning, patients lie horizontally on a special couch so that they can be placed inside an MRI scanner. The head or legs are completely inside the device, depending on the part of the body being scanned. With the help of magnetic waves it is possible to receive images of the head, spine, joints as slices in three projections: axial, sagittal, coronal. For the image of vessels and ducts 3D model is built, for example, for arteries – angiography, for veins – venography, for biliary tract – cholangiography.
MRI allows identifying abnormalities of the brain, pituitary gland, intervertebral disks, menis, abdominal and small pelvis organs. In order to visually enhance the location of the pathology, a gadolinium-based contrast agent is used, which, due to its special properties, is concentrated in the affected area during the study. The MRI Alberta procedure is safe for the body, as the patient is not exposed to radioactive radiation.
Before and during the MRI procedure
When you come to the health centre for an MRI, we ask that you fill out a patient questionnaire to ensure that your doctor is aware of any potential problems.
Due to the strong magnetic fields involved in the MRI scan, the procedure may be contraindicated to those with special metal implants from a previous operation.
Before the scan, you will be asked to remove all metal objects and, if necessary, wear a disposable robe. The duration of the MRI is usually up to 20-30 minutes, but in some cases it may be a little longer. In particular, abdominal cavity scans are not as fast as brain scans.
Because MRI scans produce noise, you will get protection for your ears. It could be earplugs or headphones. Some types of tests may require intravenous injection of a contrast agent, in other words “image intensifier”. This is a colorless fluid that usually does not cause even minimal side effects.
The space inside an MRI scanner is small – people who suffer from claustrophobia sometimes find it problematic. Our staff will prepare you and try to make you feel as comfortable as possible throughout the procedure.
After the scan is complete, the radiologist will write a report based on the images. After a short time you will receive the results of your MRI scan and you can go to your attending physician.
Preparation before the MRI procedure
Most MRI studies do not require prior preparation, however, for some abdominal or pelvic studies you may be asked to avoid eating for 6-8 hours before the study.
What to expect from an MRI procedure
The MRI is either referred by the attending physician or the patient can be independently diagnosed for prevention purposes.
At the end of the examination, you will receive pictures and the doctor’s report with further recommendations. The conclusion will contain a description of the images, but specific terms may not always be clear to the patient. In this case, you can consult with an X-ray doctor, who will answer questions about the examination and tell you about the interpretation of the images in an accessible and understandable form.