When you’re injured or suffering from chronic pain, your doctor can perform an examination to identify the source of your pain and treat it. This examination usually includes a review of your symptoms and medical history, and your doctor may perform a series of diagnostic tests to reach a conclusion. One test that’s frequently used when making a diagnosis is a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.
How do MRI scans work?
An MRI machine captures detailed, 3D images of your internal body structure. These images provide your doctors with a view of your injury to help them determine the exact cause and develop the correct treatment.
MRI machines are able to capture these images through the use of large, rotating magnets. These magnets stir up the hydrogen atoms in your body and temporarily realign them so that they can be captured as an image by radio waves.
One of the advantages of an MRI scan versus a CT scan or other diagnostic tests is that it usually doesn’t require a contrast dye However, in some cases, a contrast dye is still helpful.
When is a contrast necessary?
Your MRI technician may recommend using contrast dye if your doctor suspects your health issues are related to your blood flow. Contrast dyes help highlight the activity in your blood vessels. This can help doctors detect clots and aneurysms that may be causing health issues.
MRI contrast can also help identify tumors because they absorb the dye and glow brightly in images.
When should you not use contrast?
The contrast used in some MRI scans is a gadolinium-based dye. The risk of using this dye is that a patient may be allergic to some of its ingredients. However, allergies to contrast dyes used in MRI scans are extremely rare, so this is not a problem for most people.
Others who should not use a dye are pregnant women and people with kidney conditions.
Visit the iRISE Spine and Joint Institute today for an MRI scan
Do you need to schedule an MRI scan soon as part of your diagnosis? Do you have questions about dyes and other factors related to your MRI scan? Our team will be happy to answer your questions. Contact us today for more information about MRI scans or to schedule an initial appointment.