A Closer Look at a Brain MRI with Valley Radiology

Head injuries and brain-related conditions are common occurrences affecting thousands each year.

While there are various ways to review symptoms and provide a comprehensive diagnosis, an MRI scan of the head may be one of the best imaging techniques to determine the root cause of a head-related condition. 

A brain MRI is a non-invasive medical imaging procedure used to obtain detailed and precise images of the structures within the human head and brain. 

It utilizes a powerful magnetic field and radio waves to create clear, high-resolution pictures of the head and brain's internal anatomy.

This imaging technique is essential in diagnosing various neurological conditions and disorders, such as brain tumors, strokes, aneurysms, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and other brain and nervous system abnormalities. 

If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of a head or brain-related disorder, have been scheduled for a head MRI, and are curious about what it entails, we are here to help. Continue reading to learn more.

What Does a Head MRI Show?

An MRI of the head gives us valuable insight into the inner workings of the head and brain. 

The rendered images can provide information about illnesses, injuries, and head and brain-related conditions to help in further diagnosis and comprehensive treatment planning.

An MRI head scan provides the following: 

  • Neurological Insights: A brain MRI scan provides a detailed view of the brain's structure, helping diagnose conditions such as tumors, strokes, aneurysms, and neurological disorders.
  • Soft Tissue Clarity: Soft tissue abnormalities, including infections and inflammations, can be confirmed. 
  • Blood Vessel Examination: Detect issues in blood vessels like blockages, aneurysms, or arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) with a head MRI.
  • Trauma Assessment: Crucial information after head injuries helps determine the extent of damage and guides treatment.
  • Sinus and Ear Examination: Sinus cavities and ear structures for conditions like sinusitis or inner ear problems can be examined and confirmed via an MRI head scan.
  • Seizure Investigation: Brain MRIs are valuable in locating the source of seizures by analyzing brain activity over a set period. 

What is Involved in an MRI Scan of the Brain?

When you arrive for the head MRI, you'll typically change into a hospital gown and remove metal objects like jewelry. An experienced MRI technologist will guide you through the process, explaining each step as they go. 

You'll begin the procedure by laying on an examination table on your back, with a specialized head coil placed around your head to enhance image quality.

It's essential to remain as still as possible during the scan to ensure clear and accurate images. 

The examination table will then slide into the MRI machine, a large cylindrical magnet. While the scan is in progress, you'll hear a series of loud knocking and buzzing noises. Earplugs or headphones with soothing music may be provided to minimize the impact of these sounds.

Throughout the procedure, you'll have access to a two-way intercom system to communicate with the technologist, who will ensure your comfort and well-being. 

Once the scan is complete, the table will slide out, and you'll be assisted in getting up. In most cases, you can resume your daily activities immediately after the MRI.

After your procedure, a radiologist at our MRI center will carefully review and analyze the images obtained during the brain MRI. Your healthcare provider will then discuss the results with you and determine any necessary next steps or treatments based on the findings.

Brain MRI With Contrast vs. MRI of the Brain Without Contrast

A head MRI with contrast and an MRI of the head without contrast are two distinct imaging techniques used to evaluate the brain and related structures. 

In a brain MRI with contrast, a contrast agent is injected intravenously to enhance the visibility of specific brain structures, making it particularly valuable for detecting and characterizing conditions such as tumors, inflammation, and vascular abnormalities. This method is commonly employed in cases where a detailed assessment of the brain's vascular system or specific pathologies is essential. 

In contrast, an MRI of the head without contrast relies solely on the brain's intrinsic magnetic properties to create images. While it provides detailed anatomical images of the head and brain, non-contrast imaging may offer a different level of detail for identifying specific abnormalities. This approach is often used for routine brain imaging, initial assessments, and follow-up scans. 

The choice between these two techniques depends on your unique situation. Your healthcare provider will determine the best MRI head scan option for you. 

How Long Does an MRI Head Scan Take?

A head MRI generally lasts 30 minutes to an hour, although the exact duration may depend on specific imaging criteria and whether a contrast agent is necessary.

Before your MRI of the head, we will have a detailed conversation about the expected procedure duration, taking into account your individual medical history and imaging requirements. 

Schedule an Innovative Brain MRI in Fayetteville or Angier NC

At Valley Radiology, our dedication lies in delivering precise and reliable brain and head MRI findings to assist you on your path to better health.

If you or someone close to you is encountering new or worsening head-related symptoms, an MRI of the head can serve as a crucial initial stage in uncovering the root causes and beginning essential treatment.

Your health is of utmost importance to us. 

Contact us today if your provider has referred you for a head MRI and you would like to schedule it at one of our convenient locations near you.