Magnetic Resonance Imaging Of The Head And Neck

What you should know

A magnetic resonance imaging scan is also called an MRI. It uses magnetic fields and radio waves to take pictures of the inside of your body. An MRI is done to see blood vessels, tissue, joints, and bones in your head or neck. It may also be used to look at brain function and blood flow.


Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Risks

  • The contrast dye may cause a rash, itching, or trouble breathing. If you have diabetes, your risk for kidney damage may increase if contrast dye is used. Metal in or on your body may cause a burn or other injury. A metal device may move out of place during the MRI. An MRI can make medical devices work incorrectly or stop working. You may have short-term hearing loss after an MRI.

  • Without an MRI scan, your caregiver may not learn about your condition or know if treatments are working. Your condition may get worse.

Getting Ready

Before your procedure:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.

  • Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.

  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.

  • Tell your caregiver if you know or think you might be pregnant.

The night before your procedure:

Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your procedure:

  • Ask your caregiver before taking any medicine on the day of your procedure. These medicines include insulin, diabetic pills, high blood pressure pills, or heart pills. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital.

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.

  • The magnets may cause harm if you have metal in or on your body. Tell the caregiver if you have an implant, such as a pacemaker, defibrillator, stent, insulin pump, or cochlear implant. Tattoos, permanent eye liner, and some intrauterine devices (IUDs) may also contain metal. You will also be asked to remove items such as jewelry, a belt, or a hair clip. If you use a medicine patch, remove it before the test. You can put it back on after the MRI.

  • Contrast dye may be used to help caregivers see blood vessels or tissue more clearly. Tell the caregiver if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.

  • Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.

Treatment

What will happen:

  • You will lie on a narrow table. If you have a medical device, it may need to be turned off. You may be given earplugs or headphones to decrease the noise of the MRI. The table will be moved into the hole in the middle of the machine.

  • You will hear loud banging or tapping noises as the machine takes pictures. The noise is caused by the magnets in the machine. You will need to lie still during the MRI scan. Caregivers may tell you to hold your breath or avoid swallowing for a few seconds during the scan. They may also ask you questions or have you do a certain action, such as make a fist. This may help to show how a part of your brain is working. When the scan is done, the table will be moved out of the machine.

After your procedure:

Caregivers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. Caregivers will turn on any medical devices that were turned off before the MRI. They will check the device to make sure it is working correctly. Caregivers will also replace any medicine patches that were removed. When your caregiver sees that you are okay, you will be able to go home or be taken to your hospital room.

Contact a caregiver if

  • You cannot make it to your procedure.

  • You think you may be pregnant.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Magnetic Resonance Imaging Of The Head And Neck (Precare)

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