Radiology has made substantial progress in the past twenty years. So much so, in fact, that the field has become an integral part of modern medicine. Different types of radiological scans have become household terms, easily-recognized by the general public.
One of the most commonly-recognized types of scans is MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging. MRI is a highly useful tool used to capture detailed and accurate images of specific tissues and organs within the body. One of the reasons MRI is so popular is the fact that it does not rely on radiation to obtain the images.
How does MRI work?
The MRI machine, which is a large, tube-shaped magnet, works by realigning the hydrogen atoms within your body for a short period. Radio waves are then utilized, causing the altered atoms to give off faint signals. These signals are then read and used to create precise, accurate cross-sectional images of the body.
Is an MRI procedure safe?
While the MRI does not utilize radiation, it does come with some risks. As mentioned above, the main component of the MRI is a huge, powerful magnet. Because of this, certain precautions must be made.
The magnet of an MRI will attract any ferromagnetic (iron-containing) materials with extreme force. Before undergoing an MRI, your doctor should talk to you about leaving any ferromagnetic items at home, and ask about any medical implants you may have.
Some things to leave at home include:
- Cellular phones
- Jewelry and watches
- Hearing aids
- Clothing with metal snaps or metallic fabrics
Additionally, you should come free of makeup or cosmetics, including fingernail polish, as many cosmetic products contain metallic ingredients.
If you have medical implants or other equipment containing metal, your radiologist will discuss options with you. Pumps, clips, prosthetics, and other medical interventions can cause considerable damage to the body if moved by the magnet, and it is imperative that your radiologist knows of the presence of any of these objects.
To prevent complications due to the strong magnet used in an MRI, your radiological facility should have an in-depth process designed to identify and assess any ferromagnetic medical interventions you may have.
Individual cases may warrant a different type of procedure altogether to ensure the safety of the patient.
A Local Option You Can Depend On
Here at Lubbock Diagnostic Radiology, the safety of our patients is one of our prime concerns. While the MRI may be a commonly-used tool for diagnostic purposes, we treat each patient needing the procedure with the utmost care.
We take pride in our staff of experienced, board-certified radiologists, and ensure that they are up-to-date in all of the latest technology and guidelines. Our intake process for MRI is thorough and exact, making sure that our patients receive the safest procedures possible.
If you have questions about MRI safety or the procedures we utilize here at Lubbock Diagnostic Radiology, we encourage you to contact us; we’re happy to address your concerns. We also encourage you to discuss LDR with your physician if you are researching your options for diagnostic facilities in the Lubbock area.