Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (MRI) is a state-of-the-art imaging technique that uses a powerful magnetic field and radio wave to provide high-resolution images of the selected human body region, providing anatomical details and relevant pathology or lesion accurately and accurately.
The technique does not use ionizing radiation (X-rays) and is considered safe for the patient, especially for people requiring multiple serial exams to track their affections. The equipment used in our centers is new generation, offering high resolution images.
Our equipment is considered top equipment in the class of nuclear magnetic resonance devices – being equipped with the latest investigation software, which allows high-fidelity examination of all anatomical regions of the body in an extremely short time. All organs can be studied by MRI, but it is of choice in neurological / neurosurgical pathology (central nervous system, spine), gynecological / urological (uterus, ovaries, prostate), musculoskeletal (knees, hip joints, etc.), but also in pathology vascular by non-invasive visualization (with or without contrast substance) of the circulatory system.
Compared to the CT examination, it has the advantage of the possibility of direct multiplanar acquisition, but also of some three-dimensional reconstructions that allow the appreciation of complex structures or lesions.
How do I prepare for MRI?
MRI examination does not require special training. Usually, no special diet is required before the investigation. You can carry out your usual activity and you are advised to take the current medication prescribed by your doctor. For abdominal MRI, you may be asked not to eat 2-3 hours before the examination.
Before the examination, please fill in a questionnaire with information about the reason for the examination and any contraindications for MRI. You may be asked for recent blood tests, especially urea and creatinine, indicators of kidney function; depending on their values, it is allowed or not the injection of paramagnetic contrast substance iv. Metal objects (watches, keys, coins, jewelry) are strongly attracted to the magnet, can injure you, and are prohibited in the MRI examination room. Their presence can compromise image quality. The MRI can damage any magnetic stripe card such as a credit card, electronic or mechanical devices (mobile phone, watch, etc.). Jewelry can conduct electromagnetic waves and heat up. Please do not wear clothes with metal inserts.
What questions does the MRI questionnaire contain?
The most important are the information related to absolute or relative contraindications for the examination.
- Persons with pacemakers, artificial limbs, metal rods or any other metal objects fixed in the body (splinters, etc., eg eyepieces), heart valves, intracranial devices (clips on aneurysms), magnetic pumps for chemotherapy etc;
- Some prostheses / stents or metal implants may be MRI compatible, but it is necessary for the doctor requesting the MRI to specify this;
- Inform your doctor if you have had any recent surgery;
- Intrauterine devices mounted 10-15 years ago are not MRI compatible;
- Tell your doctor if you are allergic to any medicines or other substances. for MRI it is not an absolute contraindication to the administration of contrast, and the administration of an antiallergic beforehand decreases the risk of side effects;
- claustrophobia (fear of narrow spaces) is a relative contraindication; our staff is at your disposal to familiarize you with the device and overcome it;
- Tell your doctor if you have diabetes or kidney failure (these may be contraindicated).
How is the MRI performed?
The patient is placed on a mobile table to be placed in an examination field, open at both ends. Around the region of interest is placed the “antenna”, used to receive signal from your body. Then the table is inserted in the examination field, ventilated, with its own light source, so that the region of interest is located in the center of the magnet.
You will be asked to stay still / collaborate during the examination in order to obtain the best quality images, depending on the exam, being able to take the first breath commands. All MRIs make noise during the examination ; this can create a slight discomfort, but it is a normal technical aspect. During the examination an operating doctor constantly monitors you. You will receive an emergency rubber “pump” that you can press in case of emergency, so that the examination can be stopped at any time at your request.
How long is a MRI scan?
- Preparing for the exam and completing the questionnaire can take about 15 minutes;
- a regular MRI investigation takes 20-40 minutes for a segment, but can be extended if necessary (eg contrast administration) for up to an hour;
- The need for intravenous contrast administration cannot always be anticipated; this decision can be taken by the radiologist during the investigation, depending on the highlighted lesions; the contrast allows additional characterization of the lesion and more specific diagnosis.
TO BE CONSIDERED:
- You can continue your daily activities immediately after the exam;
- MRI investigation is painless (completely atraumatic).
- Paramagnetic contrast agent administered intravenously may very rarely have adverse effects; these are much rarer than for the iodinated contrast used in computed tomography;
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant; The MRI scan can sometimes be done in the 2nd or 3rd trimester. pregnancy in special situations; contrast administration is not recommended during pregnancy or lactation.