MRI of the head: what does it show and how do they do it?
MRI of the head, or magnetic resonance imaging, is a noninvasive study that allows you to study the structures, bones and soft tissues of the head for various pathologies.The study is carried out by exposing a human tissue to a powerful high-frequency magnetic field.The received information is processed by a computer and images are displayed on the monitor screen, allowing the specialist to judge the health status of the subject.
Important! When the MRI of the head is performed, the doctor receives images with frontal, oblique, axial sections, which can then be printed, emailed or transferred to a disk or USB flash drive.To obtain these images, X-rays are not involved.
The popularity of using MRI to diagnose head disorders is justified by its capabilities.To date, this device is considered the most sensitive, and this method - one of the most reliable.It allows you to identify those changes that are not noticeable during X-rays or ultrasound.In this case, not only tumors, but also inflammatory processes and infections are noticeable in the picture.
The direction of the MRI of the head is given to the patient if:
- permanent headaches;
- craniocereberal trauma;
- seizures reminiscent of epileptic;
- problems in the work of the cardiovascular system;
- turbidity in the eyes or loss of consciousness;
- under or overpressure;
- when receiving assays indicating the presence of neoplasms in the brain.
Please note! MRI helps diagnose not only a tumor or head injury, but also a stroke, an aneurysm, abnormal blood flow, bleeding in or around the brain, Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, hydrocephalus, encephalitis, meningitis.
Also, the MRI of the head is performed for examination of the eyes, ears, auditory and optic nerves, diagnosis of pituitary diseases, detection of causes of edema, abscesses or infections.It is prescribed to people whose history is burdened by family illnesses - stroke, heart attack.In this case, the procedure takes place every 2 years.
Before the procedure, the doctor asks the patient if he has:
- Metal elements and devices( clips, splinters, implants), which for some reason are in the body.Under the influence of a magnetic field, they can shift or warm up, causing serious burns to tissues.To identify them immediately before the examination can be carried out diagnostic radiography, for example, if a person works with metal.
- Pacemaker, hearing aid, insulin pump, as these devices may experience a malfunction due to radio waves.
- Claustrophobia, or fear of enclosed space.
- Brightly expressed pain syndrome, because because of it a person can not stay in one position for a long time, still, which negatively affects the quality of the pictures.
- Renal failure is a serious contraindication to the MRI of the head.
- Pregnancy.Women in the situation, as well as those who at the time of the study practice breastfeeding, doctors do not recommend carrying out the procedure, if it implies the introduction of a contrast medium, sinceIt is able to penetrate into breast milk and cause health problems of crumbs.
- Allergic reactions, especially if a contrast agent is provided.
Please note! In the presence of claustrophobia, you can first ask the doctor for a sedative and go through the examination.In pregnancy, to agree to the procedure is if the benefit from its conduct exceeds the possible risk.
Relative contraindications are:
- tattoos made using metallic paints;
- weight over 120 kg;
- Decompensated heart failure;
- prosthetic heart valves;
- implants of the inner ear;
- nerve stimulators.
No special preparation is required for the MRI of the head.Jewelry and jewelry doctors recommend leaving at home.It is also better to remove pins, hair clips, removable dentures, piercings, remove metal lighters, pens, knives, glasses.It is not recommended to take credit cards with you, as they can be demagnetized at the time of the research.Before the procedure, do not apply makeup.
Important! It is necessary to inform the radiologist in advance about the presence of seals and braces.Usually they are not affected by radio waves, but such elements can distort images.
Under normal conditions, doctors do not give any recommendations regarding food intake before the procedure.Meanwhile, if an MRI scan of the head with a contrast agent is planned, they may advise you to refrain from eating and drinking for 3 hours before the examination.Otherwise, nausea and discomfort in the epigastric zone are possible.
Before the procedure, the patient will be asked to sign an agreement to conduct it.After the end of the examination, doctors recommend going home accompanied by relatives and friends in order to avoid unforeseen situations.
How the MRI of the head is made
MRI results are prepared by several specialists at once.Magnetic resonance imaging is performed by a technologist.The resulting images are transmitted to the radiologist.Very often they are additionally described by a neurosurgeon and a neuropathologist.Examination can be carried out on an outpatient basis or in a hospital.
Please note! The MRI device is a huge metal tube, which is surrounded on all sides by a magnet.It is attached to the moving table, on which the patient is placed inside the device.
This is how closed-type devices look that create a lot of difficulties in working with people who suffer from claustrophobia.In some centers, open-type devices are used - with side openings and a shorter tunnel.
Assistant specialist helps the patient to lie down on the table, in some cases additionally fixing his body with rollers and belts.This is explained by the fact that in order to obtain high-quality images and, as a result, to establish the correct diagnosis, a person needs to lie still and motionless for a certain time.If a contrast agent is provided, a catheter is inserted into the vein, through which the contrast is introduced into the blood.
When all preparations are made, the table slides into the apparatus, so that the patient's head is near the source of electromagnetic waves.At this stage, the medical worker enters the next room, where the monitor screen is located.
Important! Special equipment sounds are known about the beginning of human research - peculiar clicks.Meanwhile, if they produce too much noise, they will most likely be asked to put on earphones or earplugs.The time of the procedure is 20-50 minutes.As a rule, while a person lies motionless, the medical worker watches him through special windows.
After time the mobile table leaves the pipe, the person is unfastened from it and the catheter is removed( if installed).Then follows the interpretation of the results by specialists.
Sensations and Risks in Conducting
MRI of the head is a noninvasive research method that does not cause any pain or discomfort in a person.The only thing that can embarrass at its carrying out is a solid table on which it is necessary to lie still for a long time, and coolness inside the room.
In rare cases, fatigue can be added:
- slight tingling in the mouth;
- heat in the head area .
Important! About the appearance of nausea, headaches, dizziness, vomiting or shortness of breath at the time of the procedure must be immediately reported to a specialist.
MRI of the head does not carry any danger if a person does not have contraindications to it.At the same time, one should always be prepared for the fact that:
- prostheses, pacemakers and metal devices can be damaged due to the use of a magnet;
- iron pigments in tattoos can cause skin burns or irritation;
- contrast agent can cause an allergic reaction.
What MRI of the brain and brain vessels shows
Sometimes a specialist can report preliminary results to a patient immediately after the procedure, meanwhile, a complete analysis is prepared for 1 to 2 days.A radiologist is working on it, which examines the anterior, lateral and upper parts of the brain, and then issues an MRI report.It indicates the size, shape, color and condition of its structures.Any deviation from the norm is indicated in the conclusion.
In the picture you can see:
- bright spots with asymmetric edges, accompanied by deformation of brain structures at the site of localization - these are tumor processes;
- enlarged ventricles of subarachnoid space - hydrocephalus;
- bright spots corresponding to the pool of innervation of the artery, sometimes accompanied by smoothed gyruses and furrows - stroke;
- ring-shaped band along the periphery is a hemorrhagic stroke.
When contrast media are used, the following can be seen on the screen:
- round cavities whose boundaries are near the veins and arteries are angiopathy due to hypertension;
- depletion or expansion of the walls of the vessels is an aneurysm;
- light areas in white matter - multiple sclerosis;
- dark spots in the channels with cerebral fluid - this is evidence of fluid leakage into the brain, for example, due to craniocerebral trauma;
- reduction of vascular contrast is atherosclerosis.
MRI is a modern, painless and safe method of brain research that can help a doctor diagnose correctly, and a patient can begin treatment if necessary.The main thing is not to postpone it for later if there is evidence, and also to follow all the recommendations of a specialist at the time of it.
Chumachenko Olga, medical reviewer