An MRI scan or magnetic resonance imaging is a medical imaging test, which helps your doctor to identify different kinds of diseases. A doctor usually recommends the MRI scan test for conclusive evidence on certain unclear issues troubling the patient that may have been previously unclear through previous tests or examinations.
People usually wonder why an injection is needed prior to the examination; the simple reason would be to enhance the accuracy of the images. A substance called as gadolinium is injected into the veins or the joints of the person getting a MRI scan. This silvery-white ductile makes it easy to see the smaller structures present in the joint and thus it increases the accuracy of the examination.
These dyes or contrasts are used in specific circumstances and they help more or less in enhancing the images. However there are also a different set of reasons why a contrast is given, there could be a history of tumor, cancer or surgery in a patient. The doctor could be looking for an infection, inflammation or cancer or he/she may also want to evaluate the blood vessels and so on. These injections are usually given after the MRI scans are done. The doctor or pathologist might use a small butterfly needle or an IV for injecting 10 to 20 milliliters of dye into the veins. The needle will be removed in some time and the patient will be placed back into the machine for further procedures.
It is important to discuss all the risks involved in the gadolinium injection with your doctor. There are certain common side effects involved; these include any type of allergic reaction, redness or flushing, blood clots, hives, dizziness and even shortness of breath. You ought to seek information regarding the side effects from your doctor. The radiologist should be able to clear all your doubts and queries related to the contrast injection.
On an average only 20 % of the MRI's are ordered with a contrast. You might want to talk to patients who have been through this procedure if you are concerned about it. Your doctor will make sure you are mentally prepared for the test. There are certain necessary things that you need to do before going through with the test. For example you are not allowed to visit the bathroom during the test, you are not allowed to wear any metallic jewelry or carry any kind of metal on you, do not drink any caffeine or other drinks. Some people who are petrified of small spaces can request for medication, moreover to avoid the noise in the machines you can always ask for ear plugs.
Submitted by M T on April 20, 2010 at 04:57