Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the head is a noninvasive test that produces detailed images of your brain. An MRI machine creates the images using a magnetic field and radio waves. An MRI is different from a CT scan or an X-ray in that it doesn’t use radiation to produce images. An MRI can create images with different contrast of the various structures, and hence MRI is more effective than other scans at detecting abnormalities , for example in the pituitary gland and brain stem.
A head MRI is a useful tool for detecting a number of brain conditions, including:
A head MRI can help determine whether you sustained any damage from a stroke or head injury. Your doctor may also order a head MRI to investigate symptoms such as dizziness, weakness, seizures, changes in thinking or behavior, blurry vision, or chronic headaches. These symptoms may be due to a brain issue, which an MRI can help detect.
Additionally, there is a type of MRI called magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), which examines certain blood vessels in the brain.
The MRI technician should be informed if you have any inner ear implants, artificial joints, a defibrillator or pacemaker, particular types of heart valves, vascular stents, brain aneurysm clips.
The staff will ask you to remove anything that contains metal, including jewelry, sunglasses or any electronic gadgets. All these interferes with the MRI machine’s ability to produce a clear image. Braces and dental fillings will typically not pose a problem, but pens, pins, and certain dental appliances can interfere.
In the case of implants and pacemakers, those items can stop working properly due to an MRI’s magnetic field.
You will be asked to wear a hospital gown or clothing that doesn’t contain metal fasteners.
Lastly if you’re pregnant , kindly inform the staff.
Procedure for MRI Head?
During the exam, you will asked to stay still to obtain the clearest images.You will lie down on a table that slides into the MRI machine and a head coil will be placed around your head. The table will slide through a magnet and the technician will start the scan. The scanning will be loud in nature and these banging noises are normal with the machine. There is no need of worrying or fear. You can also ask for ear plug if noise is more than bearable limits.
Children who have difficulty staying still may need intravenous or oral sedation. Sedation can also be helpful for adults who are claustrophobic.
The test normally takes 30 to 60 minutes. You may receive a contrast solution, usually gadolinium, intravenously to allow the MRI machine to see certain parts of the brain more easily, particularly your blood vessels.
There are no risks associated with the MRI itself. There is a very slight chance that you will have an allergic reaction to a contrast solution. Tell the medical staff if you have decreased kidney function; it may not be safe to use contrast solution if this is the case.
A radiologist will analyze your MRI images and your results will be available