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What to Expect from an MRI with Contrast

Aug 19, 2021

what-to-expect-from-an-mri-with-contrast
If you were recently injured, your doctor may want to run some diagnostic imaging tests to get a clearer picture of the damage to your internal structures. An MRI is one type of diagnostic imaging scan that helps support a diagnosis and monitor your progress in treatment. Your doctor may also want to run an MRI scan they suspect you have a medical condition, like an infection, cancer, or organ damage. In some cases, your doctor may request an MRI with contrast, which provides an additional level of clarity to the MRI images. Visit your Jonesboro imaging center near you to schedule an MRI and get answers and a treatment plan that works for you.

How Does an MRI Work?

MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging and is a state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging tool utilized in hospitals and doctor’s offices across the globe. This type of imaging scan uses powerful magnets that interact with radio waves to produce images of your internal structures on a computer. These detailed images will include bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, spinal discs, organs, and other soft tissues and structures inside the body. Unlike an X-ray or CT scan, an MRI does not expose you to any radiation. Additionally, an X-ray can only provide you with images of your bones and cartilage, while muscles and other soft tissues don’t show up on this two-dimensional scan. An MRI takes highly detailed, cross-sectional images of a specific area of the body.

An MRI machine is a large, tube-like structure that houses these powerful magnets. When getting a traditional MRI scan, you will lie on a table that is inserted into the machine. Once inside the machine, you will need to lie very still while the machine goes to work. You won’t experience any pain or discomfort, though some people do find the loud sounds of the magnets moving around to be irritating or stressful. Many imaging centers provide you with headphones or earplugs to help make this a more comfortable experience. An MRI scan takes an average of 30 minutes, though the length of the scan will depend on the area being scanned. As the magnets and radio waves interact, they send live images to the computer attached to the MRI machine for the doctor to review.

What Are the Different Types of MRIs?

The traditional MRI involves lying on a table that is inserted into the machine. With advancements in technology, there are also standing MRIs available in certain locations. While the traditional MRI still provides the clearest and most accurate images, a standing MRI may be recommended or requested if someone struggles with claustrophobia or has another reason they may be unable to do the traditional scan. There are also open MRI scans available where you may not need to go inside a machine for the scan to take place. In addition to different types of structural MRI scans, there are also types of MRI scans that assess specific areas of the body, like a cardiac MRI for the heart and circulatory system. Another example of a specific type of MRI is an MRI with contrast.

What Is an MRI with Contrast?

An MRI with contrast means you will receive an injection of a dye called a contrast dye. The dye used helps to provide greater contrast in the images by highlighting certain areas inside the body. A contrast dye can help detect infections and certain types of tumors. It can also provide greater clarity and visibility of damage to soft tissues after an injury. In most cases, you will receive an IV ahead of the MRI scan and the first set of images will be without the dye. Then you will receive the contrast dye through the IV and take a second set of images. This allows your doctor to compare the images with and without contrast dye to help your doctor provide you with the most accurate diagnosis.

What Are the Advantages of an MRI with Contrast?

An MRI with contrast provides such detailed pictures that many times, your doctor will not need to run any additional scans. If repeat scans are necessary, it may be to help measure and evaluate the growth of tumors or cancers. The contrast dye can help identify small tumors that may not show up on other types of scans. Overall, an MRI with contrast will provide your doctor with better-quality pictures to help you.

To schedule an MRI with contrast, visit the AICA Orthopedics Jonesboro imaging center near you.

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