Is there any harm from an MRI for the body?
Among the methods of hardware diagnostics magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been widely used. This survey provides high-precision information about the state of the cardiovascular system, cerebral vessels and the musculoskeletal system.
Some diagnostic methods that allow to obtain important information for a diagnosis in a short time, by themselves, pose a threat to the patient's health. Is an MRI harmful to health, how often can you undergo this diagnosis? Let's find out.
Physical Basics of MRI
Consider the physical processes that underlie this procedure.
The patient is placed on a movable table, located in a powerful magnetic field, and is influenced by a radio frequency signal. As a result, tissues and organs form an “electromagnetic response” in the form of waves of various lengths. This allows you to get on the screen 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 into 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.
Is MRI of the brain harmful?
The indications for this type of examination can serve as a patient's complaints of headache, dizziness and other symptoms. It is likely that the patient has a question - is MRI of the brain harmful?
During the examination, the patient is in a special booth of the device, creating a strong magnetic field. All images of the internal structure of the brain are obtained by electromagnetic interactions, which are absolutely harmless to humans. Negative effects can occur through the use of a contrast agent used during its implementation. Therefore, before the procedure, the medical staff ascertain whether the patient is allergic to the components of the contrast agent.
Contraindications for such a diagnosis may be:
- renal failure;
- the 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 can be inside the device from 15 to 40 minutes);
- individual psychosomatic disorders.
Is MRI of the spine harmful?
Due to the high cost and complexity of the equipment, this procedure is prescribed by a doctor according to strict indications, if you suspect:
- vertebral hernia and intervertebral disc protrusion;
- tumor processes.
During the examination, the table with the patient on it, gradually moves along the scanner. Diagnosis of one section of the spine can take up to 30 minutes, and the whole procedure takes about 1 hour. But at the doctor’s disposal there will be images of the pathological process in different planes, allowing with a high degree of certainty to clarify the diagnosis and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
Any new type of examination causes anxiety in a patient - is MRI of the spine harmless? Since the basis of this method is the impact on a person of a strong magnetic field, and its negative impact has not been revealed by science, MRI is considered a safe and very informative imaging method of research.
What is safer MRI or X-ray
Comparing the effects of two types of hardware diagnostics - radiography and magnetic resonance imaging on the human body, we note the following: during X-ray examination, a person is exposed to ionizing radiation, albeit in small doses. In this case, X-ray has a cumulative effect (tends to accumulate in the body). X-ray has a number of hard restrictions related to the state of health of patients, it is prohibited for pregnant women.
Information about the dangers of X-rays by many patients is automatically transferred to an MRI scan, which is completely wrong. Since the characteristics of the used magnetic fields and radio frequency signals are such that they do not pose any threat to the patient's health, both during the procedure and in the distant future. There are no sources of radioactivity in the installation.
Harm from MRI does not occur even if necessary repeated repetition of the survey at short intervals of time. Therefore, answering the question - what is more harmful than an MRI or x-ray, one should remember about the features of these diagnostic methods and the indisputable advantage of magnetic resonance imaging.
Is MRI Harmful to a Child?
Appointment of a child with an MRI often causes parents to fear because of the possible harm from the procedure itself. Is an MRI harmful for a child? If it is necessary to check the state of the brain, internal organs or the musculoskeletal system in a child, this procedure is prescribed, in view of its complete harmlessness.
During the procedure, the presence of confined space, the unfamiliar sounds of a working scanner - may scare the baby. To avoid unnecessary stress for a small patient, sedatives (sedatives) are resorted to using a special drink or intravenous administration. The procedure itself lasts about half an hour. Such a measure will allow the child to be calm during the examination, and the doctors will get its qualitative results. The next day, the child should be absolutely normal state of health.
Is MRI harmful during pregnancy?
In addition to the contraindications already described for this type of diagnosis, information on the effect of MRI on the developing fetus is very important. Is MRI harmful during pregnancy?
This procedure is not recommended until 12 weeks of pregnancy. It is in the first 3 months that the most important organs are formed in the fetus. And the baby during this period is most vulnerable to the negative effects of the environment. If an MRI is prescribed as a separate study for suspected fetal abnormality, then no rescheduling occurs. In the absence of specific indications, the study is better to postpone the second or third trimester of pregnancy.
Thus, magnetic resonance imaging is currently the best and safest imaging diagnostic method. Since the advantages of this method and the absence of harm to MRI for the body have been established, why are radiography and ultrasound still the most common methods? Firstly, each method has its own indications for appointment and, secondly, not every clinic has the appropriate equipment for MRI due to its high cost.
The article was written by Svetlana Semenovna Dracheva - a teacher of physics of the highest qualification category.