Is there any harm from MRI for the body?
Among the methods of hardware diagnostics, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been widely used. This examination allows you to obtain high-precision information on the state of the cardiovascular system, cerebral vessels and the musculoskeletal system.
Some diagnostic methods, allowing in a short time to obtain important information for the diagnosis, in themselves are a threat to the health of the patient. Is MRI harmful for health, how often can you be exposed to this diagnosis? Let's find out.
Physical basis of MRI
Consider the physical processes that underlie this procedure.
The patient is placed on a moving table in a powerful magnetic field and is affected by a radio frequency signal. As a result, tissues and organs form an "electromagnetic response" in the form of waves of different lengths. This allows you to get on the screen a scanned image of the human body with a detailed image of its internal organs. The images obtained by this method can be enlarged and formed by their volumetric models.
MRI is used not only for diagnostic purposes, but also for intermediate monitoring of the effectiveness of the chosen method of treatment.
Harmful MRI of the brain
Indications for this type of examination can serve as complaints of the patient for headache, dizziness and other symptoms. It is likely that the patient has a question - is the MRI of the brain harmful?
During the examination, the patient is in a special booth of the apparatus, which creates a strong magnetic field. All pictures of the internal structure of the brain are obtained through electromagnetic interactions, which are absolutely harmless to humans. Negative consequences can arise due to the use of a contrast medium used during its conduct. Therefore, before the procedure, the medical staff finds out if the patient is allergic to the components of the contrast medium.
Contraindication for this diagnosis can serve as:
- kidney failure;
- presence of a pacemaker, steel implants, artificial heart valves, fragments, etc. (titanium elements do not apply to them);
- claustrophobia (depending on the complexity of the examination the patient may be inside the device for 15 to 40 minutes);
- individual psychosomatic disorders.
Harmful MRI of the spine
Due to the high cost and complexity of the equipment, this procedure is prescribed by a physician under strict indications, with suspicion:
- on the vertebral hernia and protrusion of the intervertebral disc;
- tumor processes.
During the examination, the table with the patient on it gradually moves along the scanner. Diagnosis of one department of the spine can last up to 30 minutes, and the whole procedure takes about 1 hour. But at the doctor's disposal images of the pathological process in different planes will appear, allowing you to clarify the diagnosis with a high degree of certainty and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
Any new type of examination causes the patient's anxiety - is the MRI of the spine harmless? Since this method is based on the impact on a person of a strong magnetic field, and its negative impact on science is not revealed, MRI is considered a safe and very informative visualizing method of investigation.
What is safer than MRI or X-ray
Comparing the impact of two types of hardware diagnosis - radiography and magnetic resonance imaging on the human body, we note the following: during an X-ray examination a person is exposed to ionizing radiation, albeit in small doses. Moreover, the x-ray has a cumulative effect (it has the property of accumulating in the body). X-rays have a number of strict limitations related to the health of patients, it is forbidden to pregnant women.
Information about the dangers of x-rays by many patients is automatically transferred to the MRI, which is completely wrong. Since the characteristics of the magnetic fields and radio frequency signals used are such that they do not pose any threat to the health of the patient both during the procedure and in the distant future. There are no sources of radioactivity in the facility.
Harm from MRI does not occur even if repeated examination is necessary at short intervals. Therefore, answering the question - which is more harmful than MRI or X-ray, it is necessary to remember the features of these diagnostic methods and the undisputed advantage of magnetic resonance imaging.
Harmful MRI for a child
The appointment of an infant with an MRI often causes fear in the parents because of possible harm from the procedure itself. Is it harmful for a child? If necessary, check the child's state of the brain, internal organs or musculoskeletal apparatus is appointed precisely this procedure, in view of its complete harmlessness.
During the procedure, the presence of a closed space, unfamiliar sounds of a working scanner - can frighten the baby. To avoid unnecessary stress for a small patient, resort to sedative (calming) drugs, using a special drink or intravenous injection. The procedure itself lasts about half an hour. Such a measure will allow the child to be calm during the examination, and doctors will get its qualitative results. The next day the child should have absolutely normal state of health.
Harmful MRI in pregnancy
In addition to the already described contraindications to this type of diagnosis, very important information about the effect of MRI on the developing fetus. Is MRI harmful during pregnancy?
This procedure is not recommended until 12 weeks of pregnancy. It is in the first 3 months that the fetus forms the most important organs. And the baby during this period is most vulnerable to negative environmental influences. If the MRI is assigned as a separate study for suspected fetal abnormalities, there is no transfer of timing. In the absence of specific indications, the study should be postponed to the second or third trimester of pregnancy.
Thus, magnetic resonance imaging is currently the best and safest visualizing diagnostic method. Since the advantages of this method are established and there is no harm to the MRI for the body, why is still the most common methods are radiography and ultrasound? First, each method has its own indications for the appointment and, secondly, not every clinic has the proper equipment for carrying out an MRI in connection with its high cost.
The article was written by Svetlana Semyonovna Dracheva, a teacher of physics of the highest qualification category.