An MRI, also known as magnetic resonance imaging, is a procedure that can help doctors detect cancer in the body and any signs that it may have to spread to other areas. MRIs also help doctors plan for cancer treatment if something is detected. The MRI procedure is a safe, painless procedure that uses extremely strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce highly detailed images of organs and tissues in the body. The images generated, provide more information about the potential type of cancer and prognosis. This technology is significantly important since MRI scans are clearer than ever and can lead to early detection and treatment of disease.
The MRI Procedure
Before an MRI exam, make sure to eat normally and take your usual medications unless otherwise instructed. You may be asked to change into a gown and remove any metals such as piercings, coins, keys and jewelry. The scanner typically resembles a large tube with a table in the middle. During the procedure, you will lie down on a flat table and then slide into the MRI machine.
In some cases, you may have an injection of a dye referred to as contrast into a small plastic tube in the vein of your arm. The dye injection is used to highlight and enhance the appearance of certain details. The machine will make a loud thumping, clicking or whirring noise so earplugs or headphones may be provided to help minimize these noises. The MRI scanner will then take images as you move through. You must lie very still and may have to hold your breath at certain moments. The test is painless and will take anywhere from 15-90 minutes. The length in time of the exam depends on the type of scan being performed. Some procedures such as MRIs of the brain generally take about 20-45 minutes, whereas others such as MRIs for the breasts take 30-60 minutes, dependent on how many imaging sequences are being taken. After the exam, you may resume your normal daily activities and will be able to obtain your results within 1 to 2 weeks. It is important to stay up-to-date with your physician and ask any questions or concerns that you may have.
Benefits of an MRI
- A non-invasive and painless procedure
- A low risk procedure as it does not use radiation
- Can determine if a cancer has spread and is just as effective as other forms of imaging to detect cancer
- Can be used to monitor treatments, such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy
- Can identify tumors
- Can detect other medical issues such as, arthritis, brain injury, heart disease and many more
- Allows for whole-body imaging
- Less likely to produce allergic reactions when iodine substances are used
- Provides clear, detailed images that other imaging procedures are not able to achieve
If you have any additional questions or would like more information on MRIs for cancer detection, contact Alliance MRI today! Our dedicated staff is happy to help with any questions you have.