A brain MRI is used to provide detailed pictures of the brain and nerve tissues. It provides clear pictures that can highlight sections of the brain that are often not visible on a CT scan. Your MRI can also show blood flow, blood vessels, and the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.
The images from a brain MRI are used to diagnose and monitor a number of diseases and disorders that affect the brain, including abnormal brain development, brain infections, brain tumours, multiple sclerosis, and hormonal disorders.
An MRI scan of the brain can also help to determine the cause of headaches, vision problems, hearing loss, speaking difficulties, and muscle weakness. It may also be used to diagnose a new stroke or evaluate changes in thinking or behaviour.
What to expect
One of our expert technologists will escort you into the MRI scanning room, containing a table and a large, circular device called a gantry. Your technologist will have you lie on the padded table and make sure that you’re comfortable. You will be asked to lie very still and hold your breath for a short time during the scan in order to minimize any body movement and produce a clear image.
Depending on the specific exam, a contrast solution may be administered through an IV to help improve the accuracy of the examination. It is important that you inform your doctor beforehand if you any allergies, or if you have previously had an allergic reaction to a contrast solution.
During the scan, you may hear a humming or buzzing noise, which can be quite loud, but you will not experience any other unusual sensations. You may feel the table move while images are being taken of specific locations of your body. The technologist will monitor you during the entire exam through a window and will communicate with you by intercom.
Specific details of your upcoming examination will be explained fully by one of our MRI technologists or by your patient care coordinator.
How long will the test last?
The entire scan may take up to 45 to 90 minutes, depending on the specific details of your exam.
After Your Brain MRI
Our radiologists will carefully analyze your MRI images and provide a report to your physician. Once they have received the report your physician will then discuss the results with you.
Your technologist will also provide you with a CD or USB containing the images from your scan when you leave.