Everything You’ve Ever Needed to Know About MRIs
Thanks to the popularity of medical shows and the sheer usefulness of the MRI itself, most of us have heard of it and, at the very least, have a vague notion of what it is. An MRI takes images of the inside of body. Medical professionals can then use this imager to help find issues ranging from tears all the way to cancer.
Unfortunately, that’s usually the end of the line when it comes to the amount of knowledge the average person has. If you’re in need of an MRI or want to get one done yourself, then this guide can help you understand everything you need to know in advance.
How MRI Works
MRIs use a very strong magnetic field alongside radio waves to create images of the body. When the body is placed inside the magnetic field, the hydrogen atoms in the body’s cells align themselves with the field. Radio waves are then sent through the body, causing the hydrogen atoms to emit their own radio signals. These signals are detected by an antenna and sent to a computer, which processes the signals and creates images of the body.
Types of MRI Machines
There are several different types of MRI machines, including open MRI and closed MRI. Open MRI machines are designed to be more comfortable for patients who may be claustrophobic or have trouble lying still for an extended period. Open MRI machines have a wider opening, and patients lie on a table that moves through the machine.
Closed MRI machines are more common and use a tube-like structure that the patient lies inside. This type of MRI machine is stronger than an open MRI, which can result in higher-quality images.
Uses of MRI scans
MRI scans can be used to diagnose a wide range of medical conditions and is particularly useful for examining soft tissue, such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Some common uses of MRI include:
- Diagnosing brain and spinal cord injuries
- Detecting tumors and other abnormalities in the body
- Evaluating joint injuries and bone fractures
- Diagnosing conditions that affect the blood vessels, such as aneurysms and arterial stenosis
- Identifying problems with the heart and blood vessels
- Examining the prostate gland and other organs in the pelvic area
Where to Get an MRI scan
You may assume that the only option when it comes to getting an MRI is to go to the hospital. This isn’t the case. In fact, going to the hospital, particularly if you have a high deductible or don’t have the right insurance, can lead to an MRI bill in the thousands. If you need an MRI, but won’t be covered properly or at all, then go to an upfront all-in-one clinic like Express MRI, where you can get a full MRI and report for one fixed price.
Regardless of where you go, you can expect the same process during your MRI scan.
What to Expect During an MRI Scan
There are a few key things you’ll need to know before your MRI scan. To start, you’ll need to remove any metal from your body, including jewelry, watches, and hairpins. You may also be asked to change into a hospital gown. Once undressed, so to speak, you’ll then lie down on the table that will then move through the MRI machine.
The machine will make loud banging and tapping noises, which can be unsettling for some patients. Earplugs or headphones might be provided to help to block out the noise. You’ll need to try to remain as still as possible during the scan, as movement can cause blurring in the images. Most scans take between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on which part of the body is being scanned.
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