Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive imaging procedure used to produce detailed pictures of the inside of the body with the use of an electromagnetic field and radiofrequency pulses.
In order for this procedure to be carried out, the patient must be placed in an environment where there is a magnetic field.
MRI allows visualization of certain anatomical regions that would be difficult to accomplish with computerized tomography (CT scan), especially inside the vertebral column, where the spinal cord is located, and in the lower posterior part of the brain.
- MRI is the recommended exam for evaluating neurological problems (aneurysm, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord compression or trauma).
- It allows the evaluation of musculoskeletal problems (cyst, mass, evaluation of cartilage, tearing of ligaments or tendons).
- The exam allows the surgeon to plan the surgery according to the localization and spread of the pathology.
- The radiologist may need to use a special dye (contrasting agent) during the exam.
For safety reasons, the patient must complete a questionnaire in order to determine if he or she has any contraindications to MRI, which are:
- Presence of metallic foreign bodies in the eye, in which case an x-ray is mandatory.
- Vascular clips for aneurysm implanted prior to 1983 (some were not made of titanium).
- Iron prostheses implanted prior to 1983.
Preparation for your exam
- It is extremely important not to move during the examination.
- On the day of your appointment, it is important to bring with you images and medical reports of relevant exams done elsewhere (x-rays, MRI, CT scan, ultrasound), which are required for comparison purposes.
- If you suffer from claustrophobia, i.e. you are afraid of being in closed spaces such as an elevator, report this to your doctor or to your clinic when you make your appointment so that you may be prescribed a relaxing medication. In this case it is mandatory that you be accompanied during the procedure.