Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the head or head/brain MRI is a painless, non-invasive test that produces detailed images of your brain and brainstem. Although MRIs cost more, they are a regular alternative to less expensive CT scans since there is no radiation involved. Both MRIs and CTs can be with or without contrast. To determine if you need medical imaging, please consult your primary care practitioners.
How does an MRI work?
A MRI uses strong magnets to generate and measure signals from body tissues. The strength of the scanner’s magnet is measured in Tesla (T). Higher-strength magnets provide more detailed pictures. Most MRI scanners have magnets between 0.3 and 3T, with 1.5T being standard.
Some MRI exams use an injection of contrast material. You may be asked if you have asthma or allergies to iodine contrast material, drugs, food, or the environment. MRI exams commonly use a contrast material called gadolinium. Gadolinium can be used in patients with iodine contrast allergy. A patient is much less likely to be allergic to gadolinium contrast than to iodine contrast.
Why do a head MRI?
A head MRI is a useful tool for detecting a number of brain conditions, including:
- aneurysms, or bulging in the blood vessels of the brain
- multiple sclerosis
- spinal cord injuries
Head MRIs can detect brain tumors, traumatic brain injury, developmental anomalies, multiple sclerosis, stroke, dementia, infection, and the causes of headache.
How to prepare for a head MRI?
Before your head MRI, your medical staff will need to know if you have any metal in your body, including:
- inner ear implants
- artificial joints
- a defibrillator or pacemaker
- particular types of heart valves
- vascular stents
- brain aneurysm clips
They’ll also ask whether you’ve ever worked with sheet metal or been injured with metal shrapnel. All of these things can affect how safely you can undergo a MRI. In the case of implants and pacemakers, those items can stop working properly due to a MRI’s powerful magnetic field. It is best to consult your primary care practitioners before making any scan-related decisions.
To book a scan, visit us at Medmo.com. Medmo helps people schedule imaging tests – such as MRI, CT, PET, and more – at nearby accredited centers and identify the payment solution that works best for them.