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Magnetic resonance: what is and how is this test performed?

Magnetic resonance: what is and how is this test performed?

June 17, 2024

Throughout the history of science, the human body and what it integrates in its interior have aroused the interest of all health researchers. Fortunately, thanks to advances in science, it is no longer necessary to perform invasive tests that risk the patient's health.

In 1971, Dr. Raymond Damadian and his team created the first apparatus of magnetic resonance, a totally painless test that allows the observation of the interior of our body through great detail images.

  • Related article: "Electroencephalogram (EEG): what is it and how is it used?"

What is a nuclear magnetic resonance?

Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is a diagnostic test that emits images of the inside of our body . Through this test, the clinical staff can detect any anomaly that is not visible to the naked eye or other tests such as radiography.

The main characteristic that distinguishes this test in comparison with radiographs or computerized axial tomography (CAT) is that the resonance does not use ionizing radiation or X-rays. On the contrary, this technique employs a series of radio waves that pass through the patient's body, which is exposed to a strong magnetic field .

Another advantage that nuclear magnetic resonance presents is that by using it you can get high-detail images of any point and any perspective of the body; even getting to be in two or three dimensions.

To obtain these images the person is introduced into a large machine face to a giant size UVA apparatus. The person should remain recumbent within it for a variable time ranging from 30 to 60 minutes. However, some centers have open machines adapted for people with fear of being locked up.

This image obtained by magnetic resonance is called "cut". In a single test a large number of images can be obtained , which can be stored digitally or printed on paper.

Finally, there are different types of magnetic resonance tests, depending on the area you want to examine

  • NMR of the head
  • NMR of the thorax
  • Cervical MRI
  • MRI of the abdomen
  • Pelvic MRI
  • MRI of the heart
  • Lumbar MRI
  • NMR angiography
  • Venography by NMR

When should a resonance be performed?

The completion of an MRI, accompanied by other examinations, tests and evaluations, are of great help for health professionals when making any type of diagnosis .

When the medical staff suspects or warns of any signs of illness, they usually ask for an MRI, usually in a specific area or area of ​​the body.

Usually, the most common reasons that lead to request this test are the following.

1. MRI of the head

To detect tumor formations, aneurysms, strokes, heart attacks or brain injuries . Likewise, they are also used to evaluate ocular or auditory system alterations.

2. MRI of the abdomen or pelvis

It serves to evaluate organs such as kidneys, liver, uterus or ovaries and the prostate.

3. Bone NMR

Through this technique you can identify problems such as fractures, arthritis, hernias, etc.

4. MRI of the chest

Especially useful for examine the cardiac anatomy and assess possible damage or alterations in the arteries . In addition, it also reveals tumors in breast and lung cancer.

5. Venography by NMR

This type of resonance facilitates the observation of thrombi, infarcts, aneurysms or malformations in the blood vessels.

How should the patient be prepared?

There are a number of issues that the patient must consider before undergoing this test. Likewise, it is the obligation of the health personnel to inform the person about how this procedure is and what obligations or points to take into account must have the person before performing an MRI.

1. Required documentation

The health personnel must give the patient an informed consent in which it is explained in detail what the test consists of and what possible risks it entails. The person must deliver this consent and take it with her on the day of the test.

2. Food

According to the organ that you want to examine, it will be necessary that the person does not eat any type of food, Do not consume any liquid for a few hours before the test .

3. Company

Magnetic resonance it is a totally painless and non invasive test so it will not be necessary for the person to go accompanied.However, in cases where the person experiences fear or anxiety, the company of someone they know can be very helpful.

4. Clothing

During the performance of the test the person you should wear only the hospital gown , being necessary that you undress before performing the test. Also, it is mandatory to remove any type of metallic object such as earrings, bracelets, hair accessories, etc.

Duration of the test and entry

The magnetic resonance test usually lasts approximately 30 to 60 minutes . Since no anesthesia or intervention is necessary for its realization, it is always done on an outpatient basis, so the person's admission is not necessary.

Despite being a practically innocuous technique there are a series of contradictions:

  • Cases of allergy to contrasts used in magnetic resonances.
  • Women with intrauterine devices (IUD).
  • People who have a metal component inside their body such as screws, pacemakers, shrapnel, etc.
  • Patients with claustrophobia.
  • People suffering from obesity .
  • Cases of severe renal or hepatic failure
  • Patients undergoing surgeries in a blood vessel.
  • Unstable or clinically serious patients that may need some kind of resuscitation maneuver
  • Women who are breast-feeding should not breast-feed after 24-48 hours after the test , in cases where some type of contrast has been administered.

In all these cases, patients must inform the hospital staff in order to adapt the test to their personal needs, without the need to take any kind of risk.

How is MRI performed?

As mentioned above, the magnetic resonance machine has an elongated cubic shape within which a stretcher is placed. This stretcher slides into the appliance and the patient must be lying on it face up and absolutely motionless during the entire test.

Depending on the type of test, intravenous inoculation of a contrast material will be necessary to highlight the bodies examined. This substance is known as gadolinium and its main advantage is that since it does not contain iodine it is not likely to cause any side effects.

In cases where it is necessary (anxiety or fear) the patient may be given some type of relaxing medication to prevent it from moving during the test. Likewise. It is also possible to hold your arms, head or chest by using straps.

Once the test has started the person can perceive an intense sound of ventilation and the own test of the test . It is possible to offer the person headphones to reduce the discomfort.

Throughout the procedure, the technicians of the imaging tests will monitor the patient to give instructions, as well as to assist them in cases in which an incident occurs.

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): About your Mayo Clinic Test (June 2024).

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