In magnetic resonance imaging or magnetic resonance tomography, magnetic fields and radio waves act on the atoms in the body during the examination. The latter send out signals which are measured and evaluated by the highly sensitive equipment. The results are very precise cross-sectional views of the human body, which – in contrast to computed tomography – can run through any selected plane. And all this without X-rays! This procedure, which has been available to medicine since 1984, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2003.
When is the procedure used?
Whether soft tissue, internal organs, cartilage or brain tissue: If very precise and differentiated images are required for the diagnosis, an MRI scan or nuclear magnetic resonance image is the first choice. The technology makes even the smallest changes in body structures visible and shows diagnostically conclusive cross-sectional views in all planes.
What is the procedure for the examination?
For the examination the patient is moved into the magnetic resonance imaging scanner on a table. Please note: Lying quietly and breathing calmly are prerequisites for good results. Patients suffering from claustrophobia may be given a sedative. If desired, you can also be accompanied in the examination room by a familiar person. Electromagnetic coils make a loud knocking noise during the scanning process. We can prevent you hearing this with a special noise protection system. You are in constant contact with the staff by intercom during the examination which normally takes 20 to 30 minutes. A gadolinium-based contrast agent is administered for certain issues to further improve the quality and diagnostic conclusiveness of the images. The examination itself is completely painless and has no known side effects.
How do I prepare myself as a patient?
As the MRI device generates a very strong magnetic field, the patient must remove all metallic or magnet-sensitive items such as watches, jewellery (also piercings), dental prostheses, money and credit cards before the examination. If you have metallic objects such as vascular clips, implants, metallic splinters, tattoos and suchlike (e.g. piercings) in your body, you need to inform us in advance. Our doctors will then decide whether an examination is possible. If the administration of a contrast agent is planned, you should inform us about any known renal dysfunction. Women who wear a contraceptive coil should see a gynaecologist to check its position following the examination.
Dr. Enzweiler offers a special consultation for patients with pacemakers in cooperation with a cardiologist. Please ask our staff about this.
Very precise cross-sectional views of the human body are created using magnetic resonance imaging. The technology makes even the smallest changes in body structures visible and shows diagnostically conclusive cross-sectional views in all planes.