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Abdominal MRI : Definition, Preparation, Indications and Complications

Sunday, August 26th 2012. | Radiography

Abdominal MRI Definition

The magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) does not use, unlike the scanner, X-ray.

The magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is based on the magnetic properties of an atom, hydrogen content, to varying degrees, in all tissues of the body.

 Using very strong magnets, the protons of the hydrogen atoms of the body are stimulated simultaneously which has the effect of orienting all the hydrogen atoms in the same direction.

Once this first step is completed, the atoms are brought into resonance by subjecting them to an excitation by a magnetic field (radio frequency). At the cessation of stimulation, the atoms restore energy whose intensity is measured and analyzed.

Since all tissues do not contain the same amount of hydrogen atoms, the energy levels differ depending restored tissue composition. The analysis of these data by computers can reconstruct images in 2 and 3 dimensions and in all three planes of space.

Because of the technique used, a spontaneous contrast can be obtained due to the heterogeneity of the tissues analyzed, so it is possible to study the organs and vessels without requiring the injection of contrast material.

Abdominal MRI

Abdominal MRI (img thanks to pmh.health.wa.gov.au)

What Does an MRI?

In radiology departments or among radiologists, MRI machines are installed in rooms with thick walls that prevent the passage of radiation.

The radiologist (or radiology technician) is generally placed behind a glass that does not pass the X-ray examination and follows in front of screens or computers that process data and visualize images.

The magnet key to reach the MRI tunnel is located in the middle of which slide the examination bed. The exam can be a bit noisy and it lasts on average 20 to 30 minutes during which he is required to remain still.

MRI data is then reproduced on paper. Images can also be transcribed onto a DVD or CD-ROM. Radiologists can also transmit images via Intranet or Internet inside or outside their workplace. All data are stored in a retrieval system that allows powerful compare images of the same patient after the other.

Abdominal MRI scan

Abdominal MRI scan

MRI does not require special preparation.

The examination is prescribed by a physician and performed in a radiology practice or institutional care (hospitals and clinics).

The MRI is painless and does not need to be fasting at the time of examination. No special preparation is required prior to the completion of the examination. However, it is necessary to remove all metal objects and jewelery before the exam. You need to know your history to the radiologist before the MRI so he can know if you do not submit a cons-indication to the achievement of this review: metallic foreign body in the eye, surgical metal in the skull, pacemaker which, due to the effect of the magnet may move during the examination.

Sometimes specific contrast agent (gadolinium) is injected during the test. You must provide the relevant ordinances.

Make sure you bring the prescription order review, your Social Security card and another.

What indications of abdominal MRI?

Abdominal MRI has numerous indications

Abdominal MRI may be prescribed for:

The MRI images are more accurate and obtained without irradiation.

What are the Complications?

Allergies to contrast products used in MRI are very rare. MRI is cons-indicated in case of metallic foreign body in the eye, surgical metal in the skull, or pacemaker. Because of the effect of the magnet, metallic material could move during the examination. MRI can be performed in pregnant women, but it is nevertheless necessary to avoid injections of contrast medium in the early months of pregnancy and during lactation.

People who suffer from claustrophobia may poorly tolerate the examination. This is also the case for those who are very sensitive to noise. Ear plugs can be used during the exam.

How’s it going?

The person is lying on a table that slides inside a tunnel of approximately 2 m long. It is not necessary to be asleep for an MRI. The test takes 20 to 30 minutes. The machine is quite noisy and are asked not to move and breathe quietly during the time of the examination.

Sometimes, a contrast medium is injected at the time of image acquisition to obtain more accurate images of lesions or certain anatomical structures. A catheter is then introduced into a vein and the product is injected rapidly. It is possible to experience a heat at the time of injection. In persons with allergies to iodine, preventive treatment is required for 48 to 72 hours before the exam. When contrast material is injected, it is advisable to fast in the hours before the examination.

What are the results?

MRI images are available after the examination, but they must always be analyzed by a radiologist. It is possible that this analysis takes several hours or even days. The results are given in the form of a report to be transmitted to the prescriber to review images reproduced on paper plates, and possibly a CD-ROM which can be viewed on a computer equipped specific programs for reading radiology.

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