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What Is a Magnetic Resonance of the Brain?

Brain MRI is a safe, painless, and non-invasive diagnostic test for obtaining detailed images of the brain and brainstem.

Brain resonance is used for the structural evaluation of the brain and to detect if there are congenital, inflammatory or tumor anomalies.

It is the imaging technique of choice for the study of problems such as headaches, dizziness, instability, blurred vision, and seizures, among others. Comparatively, with CT, magnetic resonance has greater diagnostic capacity in brain pathology by being able to more adequately assess normal structures and if pathology exists. MRI has a higher resolution for assessing normal brain architecture and, on the other hand, its capacity to characterize tissue composition is infinitely greater than CT.

How is a brain MRI performed?

To carry out an MRI of the brain, following the prescription of the corresponding medical professional, the patient lies down in the MRI machine, as relaxed as possible. Once here, the MRI machine creates a strong magnetic field around you and begins emitting radio frequency waves. A receiving antenna picks up a very weak signal from the tissues and that signal is transformed into a clear image of the brain.

The patient will not feel anything, neither pain nor any type of visual or bodily stimulus. What he will perceive are repetitive sounds caused by the equipment. Earplugs or headphones are provided for the purpose of reducing the volume of these sounds.

Although in the majority of medical centers in the USA MRI for brain injury is generally performed in closed tube equipment, at Open Magnetic Resonance Image we have innovative equipment with an open design, more comfortable for patients. Our open equipment allows claustrophobic or older people to perform explorations.

At the same time, it allows patients to be accompanied during the test, creating a friendlier environment, especially for children. In this way, at the time of performing a child brain magnetic resonance, parents can help the child remain as still and calm as possible and in a significant percentage of cases, we will avoid anesthesia.

Contrast-enhanced MRI of the brain

Depending on the purpose of the MRI, the patient’s symptoms, and the findings of the study we have performed, in some cases it is necessary to administer contrast intravenously for brain MRI. It helps to better characterize certain brain abnormalities and allows a more precise characterization of abnormalities. The contrast used in magnetic resonance is gadolinium, a safe element with paramagnetic properties. Its use in patients with kidney problems must be analyzed in each case by the radiologist responsible for the examination.

The contrast makes it possible to highlight some areas of the brain, such as blood vessels, meninges or brain lesions of an inflammatory or tumor nature and allows a more precise diagnostic approach in these situations.

In addition to informing you about these aspects already mentioned, during the minutes prior to the test our staff will answer all your questions.

How long does a brain MRI last?

The duration of a brain MRI is between 15 and 30 minutes approximately. During this time, brief breaks can be made between each image recording for the comfort of patients.

Does brain MRI have side effects?

No, MRIs are safe. The equipment does not pose any risk to patients, since it does not emit any type of radiation, as it does, for example, with X-rays. The procedure can be repeated as many times as necessary without any side effects. You just have to keep in mind that there are certain devices that are incompatible with magnetic resonance imaging such as some types of pacemakers, defibrillators, infusion pumps, and cochlear implants…. and that, on the other hand, during the first trimester of pregnancy, resonance studies are not advisable.

Preparing for a Brain MRI

The indications for brain MRI are straightforward. You do not need to adhere to any kind of pre-prep guidelines. Simply remove all metal objects and electronic devices before accessing the machine, as they can interfere with the equipment’s magnetic field.

During the test, it is important that patients remain as much as possible to ensure that the results are of the highest quality and to facilitate proper interpretation of the images by the radiologists.

Radiodiagnostic technicians maintain visual and auditory contact with patients at all times.

Results of a brain MRI

After the examination, where the images are generated immediately, they must be processed and studied by an expert radiologist in MRI of the central nervous system who will issue a report. It is advisable that studies of the central nervous system be examined by a radiologist who is an expert in this type of examination.

When analyzing the results of the magnetic resonance of the brain, the radiologist must know what the normal appearance of the brain structures is in order to detect possible variations. He must know exactly what is seen in a normal brain MRI and what changes he is observing. Any anomaly can be an indication of pathology or chronic disease.

Regarding how long the results of a brain MRI take, this will depend on the capacity of the medical center chosen for the test. Since in the Open Magnetic Resonance Image we are aware of the importance of these results for an adequate and fast diagnosis, we try that our patients receive them as soon as possible, and in this sense, we try to adapt to the needs of our patients so that they receive the report in the right moment.

The results obtained with magnetic resonance serve as an indicator of possible brain tumors, cerebral infarcts, brain atrophy and aneurysm, possible traumas and other diseases of the nervous system. Thus, it constitutes an extremely valuable tool for medical diagnosis and an indispensable tool that will allow the physician requesting the test to prescribe the most appropriate treatment for their patients.