Have you ever had an MRI? As for me, I didn’t mind it at all. But for some folks, it ranks right up there with the dreaded colonoscopy. The idea of having to stay completely (ok, deathly) still while listening to that annoying and incredibly loud banging noise sends them screaming to the nearest tranquilizer. In fact, I’ve known a few who actually left before having the procedure!
I recently came across the most-shared blog about having an MRI titled, “Don’t Fart During an MRI. ” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elaine-ambrose/dont-fart-during-an-mri_b_6044578.html It’s quite funny and worth the read. However, I actually think that if you understand what’s going on when you get an MRI, it makes it a little easier to bear. So, without much adieu, here is the skinny about what an MRI is and how it works.
- Before the patient enters the MRI, a coil (or coils) are placed on the area that needs imaging. They can be different sizes.
- The coil acts like an antenna. It will pick up an analog signal and change it to digital data
- The patient is moved into the magnet (MRI)
- Once inside the MRI machine, hydrogen protons (Water) in the patient align with the magnetic field of the magnet
- A radio frequency (RF pulse) is transmitted to the body
- The RF pulse is absorbed by hydrogen proton (Water)
- The protons are “flipped”
- The radio wave is turned off.
- The hydrogen proton release energy to go back to their normal state. This energy becomes a signal or “echo.”
- The signal is received by the coil(s) on the patient.
- The signal goes through a radio frequency receiver channel and then to the processing computer.
- The signals are interpreted by the computer, then reconstructed and displayed as a variety of intensities on a computer monitor.
So just how long do you have to be “in the tube?” There are usually four to seven scans for each MRI series, and each one usually takes 10-20 minutes. That means you’ll be in the tube for 40-80 minutes on average, with 10 additional minutes needed for set up. While that may sound like a long time to you, when you consider that it’s the best tool for evaluating soft tissue detail, it’s really not that long. And since there’s no ionizing radiation, there’s little to no risk.
While a CT scan continues to be a preferred technology for certain studies, MRI has seen a rapid increase in applications for a wide variety of diseases and conditions. As a result, most U.S. hospitals are offering MRI services.
As for what can calm your nerves when heading in for an MRI? My best advice is close your eyes as you enter the tube and don’t open them while you are in there. That way you won’t actually see what can make you feel claustrophobic. Then, seriously visualize yourself on a beautiful beach.
If you need to contact an MRI system expert please Contact Us Today!
Some other MRI blogs you may have missed:
- Before You Order That MRI: A Checklist
- Your Roadmap to the Perfect MRI installation.
- Your MRI and Cryogen Venting
- Top 4 Considerations Before Installing an MRI
- Mammography or Breast MRI? Which is More Effective?
- Free MRI Resources
About the author: Aston Diaz