MRI scan | Tests and scans | Cancer Research UK

MRI scan

  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a type of scan that uses magnetism and radio waves to take pictures of inside the body.
  • The scan takes between 15 and 90 minutes.
  • You might have one to find out whether you have cancer and if you do to measure how big it is and whether it has spread. You might also have one to see how well treatment is working.
  • It is a safe test. If you have an injection of contrast dye it can cause a headache, dizziness or a warm flushed feeling

An MRI is a type of read that creates pictures using magnetism and radio waves. MRI scans produce pictures from angles all around the body and shows up soft tissues very distinctly .
MRI stands for magnetic rapport imaging.

They take between 15 and 90 minutes .

Why do I need an MRI scan?

An magnetic resonance imaging scan can be used to look at most areas of the body. For some parts of the body and for some types of tissues, it can produce clearer results than a connecticut scan .
An MRI can be used to :

  • find a tumour
  • find out how big it is and whether it has spread (stage a cancer)
  • measure blood flow
  • to check how well treatment is working

You might have an injection of a special dye ( line medium ) before the scan. This is to help make the pictures clearer .
MRI scans are peculiarly thoroughly for :

  • brain tumours
  • primary bone tumours
  • soft tissue sarcomas
  • tumours affecting the spinal cord
  • tumours in the pelvic organs (prostate, bladder, uterus and ovaries)

MRI instead of CT scans

In some situations, your doctor of the church may suggest MRI if a CT scan has n’t been able to give all the information they need .
In some cancers, such as cervix or bladder cancer, MRI is better than CT at showing how deeply the tumor has grown into body tissues. It can be particularly useful for showing whether the tissue left behind after treatment is cancer or not .

Preparing for your MRI scan

Before you go to your appointment, or when you arrive, you fill in a safety checklist. This asks about :

  • any operations you’ve had
  • whether you have any metal implants or other metals in your body

An MRI scan uses strong magnetism which could affect any metal in your body. This includes :

  • pacemakers or an implantable defibrillator (to treat abnormal heart rhythms)
  • surgical clips, pins or plates
  • cochlear implants (for deafness)
  • metal fragments anywhere in your body – for example from an injury, dental fillings and bridges 

You can placid have an MRI scan if you have some metals in your body. But your doctor and radiographer decide if it ’ mho safe for you. Tell the scanner staff about any metals in your body .
Some people feel claustrophobic or closed in when they ’ re having an magnetic resonance imaging scan. Contact the department before your test if you ’ re likely to feel like this. The hospital staff can take excess wish to make sure you ’ re comfortable and that you understand what ’ second going on. Your doctor of the church can give you medicine to help you relax if you need to .
An MRI is broadly condom during pregnancy. But as a precaution, you normally won ’ t have one during the first 3 months of your pregnancy .
Tell the department staff beforehand if you think you ’ rhenium meaning .

What to expect

When you arrive at the scan department, the radiographer might ask you to change into a hospital gown. You might not have to undress if your clothing doesn ’ thyroxine have any metal, such as zips or clips .
You have to :

  • remove any jewellery, including body piercings and your watch
  • remove your hair clips
  • empty your pockets of coins and keys

It ’ randomness safe to take a proportional or supporter into the scanning room with you. But arrest with the department staff first. Your ally or relative will besides need to remove any metallic element they have on them .

In the scanning room

Your radiographer takes you into the scanning room. The MRI machine is big and shaped like a ring .
Photograph of an MRI scanner
You lie on your back on a couch that can slide into the MRI machine .
You might have an injection of a dye ( contrast medium ) through a small fictile metro ( cannula ) into a vein in your branch. This helps to show up your body ’ s organs more clearly. Some people are allergic to the dye, so your radiographer will check first base about any medical conditions or allergies you have .
After the dye injection you may :

  • feel sick
  • have a headache
  • feel warm or flushed
  • have a metallic taste in your mouth
  • feel a little dizzy

These effects are normally meek and last for a short time. Tell your radiographer if you feel ailing at any point during or after your scan .

Having the MRI scan

You need to lie equally still as possible. The scan is painless but it can be uncomfortable to stay still. Tell the radiographer if you ‘re getting stiffly and need to move .
The scan can take between 15 and 90 minutes. It depends on the area that they need to scan and how many images they need .
once you ’ re in the correct position on the couch, your radiographer leaves the room. They can see you on a television receiver sieve or through a window at all times from the see room. You can talk to each other during the scan, normally through an intercommunication system .
The couch moves through the MRI scanner. It takes pictures as you move through it. Your radiographer might ask you to hold your breath at times.

The scanner makes a very loudly clanging sound throughout the read. You wear headphones to protect your hear. You can besides listen to music. Keeping your eyes closed can help .
This 1 minute video recording shows you what happens when you have an MRI scan .


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Voiceover: This is an MRI scanner .
This type of scan uses magnetism to build up a word picture of the inside of your soundbox to help your doctor of the church either make a diagnosis and decide what treatment you need or to find out if your treatment is working .
The radiographer makes certain you are lying in the correct put on the couch and explains what will happen .
You need to lie arsenic hush as possible .
MRI scans are very noisy so you wear ear plugs or headphones. During the scan you won ’ metric ton feel anything .
The space you lie in can feel small, if you think you will find it unmanageable being in a minor space, contact the scan department before your appointee .
The radiographer controls the scan from a discriminate room but they will be able understand and hear you throughout .
here you can see an case of an MRI read .
once the scan is finished you can go family .

After your MRI scan

When the scan is over, your radiographer comes back into the board and lowers the couch so that you can get up .
You normally stay in the department for about 15 minutes after your read if you ‘ve had the dye. This is in case it makes you feel ailing .
Your radiographer removes the cannula from the vein in your branch before you leave .
You should then be able to go home or second to work, and besides corrode and drink normally .

Possible risks

An MRI is identical safe and doesn ’ triiodothyronine function radiation. Some people can ’ t have an MRI but the checklist picks this up ahead. Your repair and radiographer make certain the benefits of having the test outweigh any possible risks .
Some of the potential risks include :

Bruising and swelling

You might get a little bruise around the area where they put the acerate leaf in for the cannula .
There ‘s a risk that the contrast medium will leak outside the vein. This can cause swelling and pain in your arm but it ’ sulfur rare. Tell your radiographer if you have any swelling or pain. Let your GP know if it doesn ’ triiodothyronine get better or starts to get worse when you ’ re at home .

Allergic reaction 

An allergic reaction to the contrast medium injection is rare. This most much starts with feeling decrepit, sweating and trouble emit. Tell your radiographer neat off if you feel ailing so they can give you medicine to control the chemical reaction .

Getting your results

You should get your results within 1 or 2 weeks .
Waiting for results can make you anxious. Ask your doctor of the church or nurse how long it will take to get them. Contact the doctor who arranged the test if you haven ’ thyroxine hear anything after a couple of weeks.

You might have contact details for a specialist nurse who you can contact for data if you need to. It may help to talk to a stopping point ally or relative about how you feel. You may want them to go with you to get the results for defend .
For data and support, you can call the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040. The lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday .

More information

We have more information on tests, treatment and digest if you have been diagnosed with cancer .

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