MRI Brain

MRI of the prostate is a special scan that uses strong magnet and radio waves to provide clear and detailed diagnostic images of the inner structure of the brain. This exam can be used to evaluate symptoms such as severe headache, memory loss, blurred vision, seizures, slurred speech, and loss of balance.

MRI Brain scans are useful in detecting tumors, strokes, brain injury, enlarged spinal fluid cavities and changes in the brain associated with dementia.

When is this exam recommended?

MRI brain may be recommended for symptoms that could be caused by a brain disease or disorder, such as:

  • Tumors, including metastases
  • Stroke
  • Infections
  • Developmental anomalies
  • Enlargement of spinal fluid cavities in the brain
  • Epilepsy 
  • Bleeding (hemorrhage)
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Eye and inner ear disorders
  • Pituitary gland abnormalities
  • Aneurysms, blood vessel blockages, or clots
  • Prepping for brain surgery, radiation therapy, or biopsy

What are the benefits?

  • MRI scans are noninvasive and painless
  • MRI brain exams can evaluate soft tissue and blood vessels
  • MRI exams do not expose patients to ionizing radiation
  • Images obtained during an MRI exam offer a high level of detail which makes them useful for detecting very small abnormalities, like tumors at an early stage
  • MRI brain scans can detect stroke at an early stage since the exam is very good at detecting changes in fluid motion (called diffusion). These changes may appear within less than 30 minutes of a stroke.

Are there any risks?

  • Any medical devices implanted into your body may be at risk of malfunction due to the strong magnetic field.
  • In very rare cases, in patients with poor kidney function, nephrogenic systemic fibrosis is a possible complication when contrast is used.
  • Gadolinium-based contrast has a very slight risk of causing an allergic reaction which can usually be easily treated.
  • Pregnant women should consult with their physician prior to an MRI exam. However, there have been no documented negative effects of MRI in the many years of its medical usage, and MRI is often the method of imaging chosen for pregnant women and fetuses. It should be noted that MRI contrast agents are not recommended to be used during pregnancy unless the benefits far outweigh the risks.
  • The ACR states that current information suggests breastfeeding is safe after the use of intravenous contrast. Please discuss your breastfeeding options with your medical provider.

How should I prepare?

  • Guidelines about eating and drinking before an MRI exam will vary. You will be informed of any exam preparations required during the scheduling of your exam.
  • Before your MRI exam you will be asked to change into a gown; removing undergarments that may have metal fasteners or fibers.
  • Jewelry and other metal objects can not be worn during the exam. Please try to leave them at home if possible.
  • You must notify the technologist if you have any implanted medical devices or any metal in your body. These can interfere with the exam and can cause harm during an MRI because of the strength of the magnet.
  • Inform the technologist if you are pregnant or suspect you might be pregnant


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