MRI scans are used as a medical examination by healthcare professionals to provide them with detailed information on what is going on inside your body and to help them to diagnose all different types of medical conditions.
Full body MRI scans can unveil and detect issues in the body such as inflammation, tumors, strokes, blocked arteries, cancers, to name just a few things. Here we have come up with more detail on the medical conditions that full body MRI scans can detect.
What is an MRI Scan?
MRI scanners use a clever piece of medical radiological technology called Magnetic Resonance Imaging to create detailed images of the anatomy, organs, and the physiological processes all taking place inside a patient’s body. MRI scanners use strong magnetic fields and radio waves.
MRI scans are painless and can last 15-90 minutes depending on the size of the area being scanned. A full body MRI scan for example is more likely to take 60-90 minutes. Before getting an MRI scan done at the hospital, you will need to fill out a medical questionnaire about your overall health and medical history to reassure staff you are fit and ready to be scanned safely.
MRI scans tend to be very safe, and most people are able to have the procedure. However, MRI scans are often not recommended for those with metal in their body as the strong magnets in the MRI can interfere with the metal fragments. MRIs are also not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding as the effects on the developing baby are uncertain.
MRI scanners are relatively new, with the first MRI scan being performed on a live human patient on July 3, 1977. MRI scanners only began to become commonplace and used in hospitals around the world as late as the 1980s. MRI scanners are a perfect example of how advances in technology have helped modern medicine along.
Types of MRI scans: Contrast and No-Contrast MRIs
There are two different types of MRI scans, those with and those without contrast. A contrast agent is a substance that is used to enhance the contrast of structures and fluids in the body for medical imaging and using them makes tissues in the body more visible.
For a contrast MRI, the patient is administered with a powerful intravenous contrast injection from substances such as gadolinium or iodine. Using contrast agents in MRI scans helps doctors and radiologists to make judgements on how your body is reacting to an abnormality or a disease. For example, an MRI using a contrast agent can identify something as specific as a thrombosis and a blood clot taking place in your circulatory system, whereas a no contrast MRI may not be able to pick up on bits of detail like this. Therefore, contrast MRIs can provide you with details that non contrast MRIs are unable to provide you with.
A non-contrast MRI uses magnetic fields and radio waves to provide imaging for your body’s organs. However, it does not use contrast dyes.
When a Hospital May Decide to Go for a Contrast MRI
In some medical cases, a contrast MRI will be preferred over a non-contrast MRI. If a medical professional wants to have a closer detailed look at your tissues and check them out for any abnormalities, they may want to choose to use a contrast MRI. In fact, if they want to receive more detailed images for a problem in any specific area of your body, medical professionals will often decide to go for contrast MRIs.
Anyone having a contrast MRI should be made aware that they can have side effects such as feeling sick, headaches, dizziness and a lack of coordination, and causing patients to develop skin rashes.
To find out more about MRIs with or without contrast, you may want to take a look at this guide from the medical screening company Ezra.
Medical Conditions That Full Body MRI Scans Are Able to Detect
One major advantage of MRI scans is that they are able to detect medical conditions, diseases, and abnormalities that other types of medical imaging and scans are unable to pick up on. Magnetic Resource Imaging is able to provide you with much clearer detailed images than in comparison to CT scans and x-rays. MRI scans can sometimes save people’s lives by managing to detect serious medical conditions such as Cancer or Strokes at an earlier stage so that medical interventions can then be made before they come much more serious.
Here we have come up with a list of medical conditions around different parts of the body that full-body MRI scans able to successfully detect and locate. After detecting medical conditions via an MRI scan, radiologists are then able to alert the relevant medical specialists to take further actions to help the patient out as quickly as possible.
MRIs Detecting Cancers Early On
Thanks to advances in medical technology and improvements in the research and treatments for cancer, from 1999 to 2019, cancer death rates per 100,000 population went down 27% in the USA. However, in 2019, there were still just under 600,000 deaths due to cancer across the USA.
Full body MRI scans are very effective at helping doctors to locate cancers in the body and look out for any signs of it starting to spread to any other parts of the body. Using contrast MRIs, doctors are able to tell whether a tumor in the body is cancerous or not. MRI images can also be used by doctors and surgeons to help them plan the treatment for the cancer.
MRI scans are often used to provide detailed images of the breasts to try and detect breast cancer in its early stages. MRI scans can be used to measure the size of the tumor and look out for any other tumors that may be present in the breast (s). When breast cancer is caught early on, it is a lot easier to treat and it significantly increases your hopes of survival. Therefore, scheduling an MRI screening and a yearly mammogram is recommended by doctors for women who are at high risk of breast cancer. During the coronavirus pandemic, unfortunately many elective medical procedures such as cancer screenings were put on hold to prioritize medical emergencies as hospitals tried to contain the spread of the virus and safeguard patients under their care.
MRIs Brain Injuries, Tumors, Strokes and Other Brain Conditions
MRIs are able to produce more reliable detailed images of the brain. MRI scans can be used by doctors to help to detect and do further investigations into traumatic brain injuries, brain tumours, strokes, dementia, MS, and Parkinson’s disease.
MRIs the Spine and the Spinal Cord
MRIs are able to provide detailed images of the spinal column and the spinal cord. They can be used to help doctors detect spinal cord decompression, spinal tumors, spinal fractures, pinched nerves and a lot more.
MRIs Arteries and Veins
MRIs can be used to detect health problems found in the arteries and veins of the body such as aneurysms, heart issues, and blood vessel blockages.
A full body MRI scan will also pick up on health issues occurring in the abdomen area of the body, this may include kidney injury, renal arterial obstruction, and enlargement of the kidney.
Full body MRI scans are a medical advance that continues to save many lives every year by catching serious health conditions early on.