What is it?
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the head does not use X-ray radiation. It instead uses a powerful magnetic system to make images of the brain and brain tissue area. It can create dozens or sometimes hundreds of images in a short time.
What is it for?
A head MRI can identify and check bleeding in the brain, infection, tumors, multiple sclerosis, stroke and birth defects.
How to prepare
- You will be given special instructions about what to eat and drink prior to the exam
- Talk to your health care provider about your medical history, current medical condition, medicines you are taking and any allergies you have
- You will be asked if you have any implanted medical devices. Implanted medical devices can malfunction or cause problems during an MRI.
- An allergic reaction may occur from the use of a contrast material (dye)
- The strong magnetic fields can cause pacemakers and other implants to malfunction
- Metal inside your body may be moved or shifted slightly because of the magnetic fields
- An MRI is not recommended if you are pregnant, as it can cause a harmful increase in the temperature of the amniotic fluid
What happens during?
- You may be given a sedative to help you relax and feel comfortable and less anxious
- You will be positioned on a moveable examination table. Straps, braces and fasteners may be used to keep you still during the procedure. It’s important to keep still to ensure that precise images are taken.
- Contrast material may be used. It is injected in your hand or arm by I.V. The contrast material helps to clearly see specific areas.
- You will be in a separate room from the MRI technologist but you will be watched and in constant communication with the technologist.
- The scan takes between 30 to 60 minutes but may go longer
What happens after?
- There is no recovery time unless you were given a sedative to relax
- You can resume your regular diet and activities following the MRI