What is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)?
MRI is a diagnostic examination in which pulses of radio-waves in the magnetic field stimulate a weak radio signal response from different body tissues; these are then detected by sensitive antennas (coils), processed by the computer and converted into images. The MRI examination does not emit any X-ray (ionizing) radiation. No adverse effects of the investigation are known to date.
Does the patient have to be prepared for the examination?
There are general instructions that every patient undergoing a MRI has to be aware of. MRI of certain organs requires additional specific preparation (described under the MRI examination types).
The magnetic field of the MRI scanner is strong and constantly active! Certain metal implants, devices, or objects in the vicinity of the MR scanner can therefore be life-threatening. If you have a pacemaker, metal foreign bodies or other implants, you must obtain a certificate or opinion from your treating physician regarding the compatibility of the implant or device with the MRI examination.
Before entering the investigation area, you must remove ALL removable metal objects, including hearing aids, artificial teeth, keys, mobile phones and other electronic devices, glasses, hairpins, headgear, jewelry, piercings, watches, belts, safety buckles, office clips, bank and credit cards, parking tickets with magnetic stripe, coins, pens, pocketknives, nail clippers, lighters, clothing with metal clips, presses or zippers, and more.
Wear only clothes without metal buttons and buckles.
How is the procedure performed?
During the procedure you are lying in the opening of the tunnel-shaped MRI scanner. Some people may experience anxiety.
A loud noise will be heard at intervals. You will get headphones or earplugs to reduce it.
It is important that you are completely still during the examination, since even the smallest movements of the examined part of the body can significantly decrease its diagnostic value. If your pain prevents you from lying still on your back, you can take a painkiller before the procedure.
In some cases, contrast agent application significantly improves the diagnostic value of the examination. It is administered to the patient as an intravenous injection according to the radiologist’s instruction. In MR arthrography the contrast agent is injected into the examined joint.
The procedure lasts from 15 minutes to one hour, depending on the examined body part and the possible use of a contrast agent.
The MRI examination is painless.
Are there any possible contrast agent-related complications?
You may feel a chill at the injection site during the contrast agent application; however, this is expected and is not considered a complication.
Small bruising may occur at the site of the injection.
In very rare cases, an allergic reaction to the contrast agent may develop, most likely within the first half hour from the application. It is presented as nausea, itching, rash, fluctuations in arterial pressure. ALERT US IMMEDIATELY of such symptoms!
Severe allergic complications such as asphyxiation, convulsions, a fall in the arterial pressure and impaired heart rhythm are very rare. The possibility to occur is 1 : 10.000. Compared to the usefulness of the examination, this risk is negligible.
Severe renal impairment may result in deposition of the contrast agent into other body tissues, causing adverse effects. Alert us of possible renal impairment before the administration of a contrast agent!
It is very important to alert us of any conditions possibly affecting the course of the examination in advance, such as:
- known allergy to a contrast agent or a previous severe allergic reaction,
- fear of confined space (claustrophobia),
- renal disease,
If you have any doubt or question about this, please consult our staff BEFORE you enter the examination room!
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