Test Details & Preparation
A head MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is an imaging test that uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create pictures of the brain and surrounding nerve tissues. It does not use radiation.
Head MRI is done in the hospital or radiology centre. You lie on a narrow table, which slides into a large tunnel-shaped scanner. Some MRI exams require a special dye, called contrast. The dye is usually given before the test through a vein (IV) in your hand or forearm. The dye helps the radiologist see certain areas more clearly. During the MRI, the person who operates the machine watches you from another room. The test most often lasts 30 to 60 minutes, but may take longer.
You may be asked not to eat or drink anything for 4 to 6 hours before the scan. Tell your doctor if you are afraid of close spaces (have claustrophobia). You may receive medicine to help you feel sleepy and less anxious. Or your doctor may suggest an "open" MRI, in which the machine is not as close to the body. You may be asked to wear a hospital gown or clothing without metal fasteners. Certain types of metal can cause blurry images.
An MRI exam causes no pain. If you have difficulty lying still or are very nervous, you may be given a medicine to relax you. Too much movement can blur MRI images and cause errors.
An MRI provides detailed pictures of the brain and nerve tissues. A brain MRI can be used to diagnose and monitor many diseases and disorders that affect the brain, including birth defect of the brain bleeding in the brain brain infection brain tumours hormonal disorders multiple sclerosis and stroke.
An MRI scan of the head can also determine the cause of muscle weakness or numbness and tingling changes in thinking or behaviour hearing loss headaches when certain other symptoms or signs are present speaking difficulties, etc.
Abnormal results may be due to abnormal blood vessels in the brain bleeding in the brain brain abscess brain tissue swelling brain tumours and more.