MRI: Essential Things to Know

MRI: definition

Also known as nuclear magnetic resonance or NMR imaging, magnetic resonance imaging or MRI refers to a test that relies on the use of a magnetic field along with radiofrequency waves to generate detailed images of organs and structures inside the human body. Since it can be used to examine blood vessels, the heart or even the brain after a stroke, it’s typically used by physicians as a diagnostic tool, says Health.

How it helps

An MRI scan can help your doctor diagnose your headaches, back pain or heart problems, among others. If you’ve been having daily or frequent headaches, pain in your chest or chronic back pain, this is one tool doctors can use to determine what the source of the problem is. In cases where your CT scans fail to show conclusive results, an MRI scan can be taken to help doctors rule out other conditions.

Safety and use

MRI scans don’t come with any risks to the average patient. If you underwent heart surgery in the past or have medical devices such as staples, artificial joints, sutures or surgical clips or even vena cava filters and more, no worries. The procedure is safe. However, if you have a heart pacemaker, have a metal in your eye or eye socket, weigh more than 300 pounds or suffer from claustrophobia, you might need to discuss your condition with your doctor to make sure taking an MRI scan is right for you.

Where to get one?

If you need one, find an MRI center that caters to your needs. If you’re claustrophobic, look for an MRI center with a machine with an open or less restrictive design than traditional ones. That will alleviate your fears and anxiety so undergoing the procedure will be easy and stress-free. That’s going to make it easy for your doctors to come up with an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment for you.

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