MRI Of The Head
Magnetic Resonance Imaging – better known as MRI – of the head is the head imaging technique that makes use of the radio-frequency waves, powerful magnetic fields, and advanced computer image processing to produce a detailed image of the brain and the cranial structures. With the aid of a contrast material, usually, gadolinium, MRI is capable of producing better images bearing more details than any other imaging method in use today. Additionally, the sharpness of the images is achieved without the use of ionizing radiation, which improves the safety of the procedure considerably.
However, despite being inherently safer than other imaging techniques in use today, patients looking to undergo MRI scanning of their heads should divulge any and every relevant medical information that may affect the procedure or their health.as such, patients should provide their doctors with information about recent surgeries, any prevailing health issues, as well as any allergies they may have.
The magnetic fields in use are quite harmless. However, they may affect the efficiency and functionality of some medical implants. With this in mind, even though the vast majority of orthopedic implants may not be affected, patients are best advised to divulge information regarding their presence.
Another benefit of using MRI is that even though the imaging technique is quite robust and developed, it does not necessarily need patients to change their routines. For instance, typically, patients do not have to change their diets or medications prior to having an MRI. Thus unless specifically given instructions by your doctor regarding eating, drinking, and taking medicine, one does not have to change anything. This bodes well with regular living as patients do not have to change their daily routines. The only thing they are asked to do is to wear loose fitting, comfortable clothes that are devoid of any metal as well avoid taking any jewelry to the MRI scanning session.
Understanding MRI Of The Head
MRI is simply a noninvasive medical test that is used to diagnose ailment affecting the head. As mentioned above, the imaging process is achieved by using a combination of strong magnetic fields and radio waves, while advanced computer image processing is used to develop a detailed picture of the parts of the brain that are of interest. This imaging technical is particularly adept in producing detailed pictures of the soft tissues, organs, and bones. Thus, it can be used to intricately understand the body part of interest. In fact, MRI is the most sensitive imaging technology we have today.
Obviously, doctors can develop hard copies of the detailed images of the part of the head that is of interest. However, the images can also be monitored on a computer screen, transmitted from the lab to the doctor’s office electronically, copied to a CD for storage or upload to the cloud for storage and transmission. As you can appreciate, MRI scans are quite versatile to use.
Uses Of The MRI Imaging Technology
MRI as an imaging technology can and has been used to diagnose long-standing as well as abrupt ailments affecting the head, including but not limited to:
1. Brain Tumors
3. Infections in the head
4. Causes of epilepsy
5. Hemorrhage in some trauma patients
6. Anomalies in development
7. Pituitary gland disorders
9. Multiple sclerosis and other conditions
10. Inner ear and eye disorders, and
11. Vascular ailments.
Preparing For MRI
As mentioned above, there is not a lot of preparation required before going for an MRI examination. The main thing that the patient has to do is to wear proper clothing (loose comfortable clothes) with no metal. However, some technicians will require the patient to wear a medical gown. With regards to drinking and eating, patients can typically maintain their eating routine as long as it entails a healthy diet. However, for some specific examinations, and eating, drinking, and medication routine will be recommended to the patient by the technologist or by the doctor.
Determining Whether The Patients Has Any Pre-Existing Condition
Right before going in for the examination, the nurse, radiologist, or technologists typically asks the patient about allergies to certain contrasting material environments, food, drugs, or contrasting material. Additionally, they are supposed to enquire about any pre-existing condition that may affect the examination including whether you have asthma and whether you are claustrophobic. In the instance that a patient is claustrophobic or suffering from anxiety disorders, a mild sedative is usually given right before the examination.
As mentioned before, it is important for patients to divulge any relevant medical information relating to health issues that they may have. However, the nurse, technologist, or radiologist will enquire about any health issues. For instance, he or she may enquire whether you have a history of suffering from kidney diseases or any liver-related issue such as a liver transplant. If you have a history of these sought of health issues, further study will be required to ensure that your kidneys and liver are performing fine.
Determining The Risk Associated With Any Medical Implants
Typically technologist will also be interested in finding out whether you have any medical devices installed in your body. The implanted devices may interfere with the examination, although this is dependent on the nature of the examination and the strength of the magnetic fields that will be used. Nonetheless, it is important for the radiologist to understand the risk associated with implanted devices. To this end, patients are encouraged to carry with them the pamphlet given to explain the risk associated with MRI examination. The information on the pamphlet makes it easy for the doctors and the radiologist to determine the risk levels and whether the risk associated can be mitigated. Some of the medical implants that are of interest to the radiologist include:
1. Implanted drug infusion ports
2. Artificial heart valves
3. Implanted nerve stimulators
4. Implanted screws, pins, stents, or staples
5. Implanted joint prostheses, or artificial limbs.
For the most part, MRI can be performed on patients with medical implants in a safe yet efficient manner. However, the following patients should not enter the MRI room, let alone undergo an MRI scan:
1. Patients with pacemakers or cardiac defibrillators
2. Patients here with medical clips in their brains
3. Patients with metal coils in their blood vessels
4. Patients with ear/cochlear implants.
Determining Whether There Are Any Metal Foreign Objects In The Patient
It is not just medical implants that are of interest to the radiologist. He or she is also interested in finding out whether you have any foreign object in your body, especially of metallic nature as they may affect the MRI examination. To this end, radiologists usually make a point of finding out whether their patients have foreign materials such as bullets, shrapnel, or any other kind of piece of metal in the bodies.
Aside from affecting the examination and distorting resulting, the metal is prone to movements while undergoing examination due to the strong magnetic field. As such, foreign metal objects need to be accounted for and the risk associated with their presence determines. This is especially important when the object is near sensitive organs such as the eyes.
The risk associated with having tooth fillings and tattoos also need to be determined. Tattoos with metal-based (iron-based) inks may heat up when exposed to a strong enough magnetic field.
As for tooth fillings, their presence is