Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Magnetic resonance imaging does not use any x-rays, but a strong magnetic field and radio waves. An electromagnet weighing several tons with a tubular opening into which the patient bench is pushed constitutes the heart of the magnetic resonance imaging scanner. Tomograms of any region of the body can be realised in a short time. A computer uses the digital data to calculate views of the region of the body examined that the radiologist evaluates afterwards.

The brain and spinal cord, internal organs (except for the lungs) are particularly well visible, but also muscles or joints. It has even become possible to capture moving organs, such as a beating heart, on images.

Other fields of application of magnetic resonanceimaging are the accurate depiction of blood vessels, early detection of tumors,as well as insights into body metabolism. Virtual image analysis methodsillustrate the processes inside the body for medical personnel andpatients.

The advantage of magnetic image resonance is that it is a gentle,virtually risk-free examination method. As there is no radiation exposure,children and even pregnant woman can be examined. In the case that apatient cannot tolerate iodinated contrast agents, as e.g. used in computedtomography, the radiologist has the option to use magnetic imageresonance.

We perform our magnetic resonance imaging with the state-of-the-art, high-end device of the 1.5 Tesla series. Compared to the standard 1.5 Tesla magnetic resonance image scanners, this MR unit offers the following benefits:

  • More convenience: With a diameter of 70 cm and a length of the examination area (the tunnel or "tube") of only 1.45 m, the unit gives the impression of an almost open magnetic image resonance scanner.  For many examinations, the patient's head remains outside of the opening.  This is especially beneficial for patients with claustrophobia. Even patients with severe adiposis or with a body weight of up to 250 kg can easily be examined.
  • Reduced examination times: The speed of the unit allows for a shortening of the examination time and thus a reduction of psychological stress, which is particularly beneficial for patients who are in pain.  Motion artifacts (blurring of images) can be reduced. The images are more expressive.  Whole body examinations from head to toe can be performed in one examination in a very short period of time, as can whole body vascular status ascertainments from head to foot. 
  • Reliable diagnoses through improved image quality: Higher contrast images in best possible resolution of details can be generated, which are required for a qualified image diagnosis.  For certain issues (e. g. arterial examinations) the 4D angiography can be applied, whereby a temporal dimension is added to the spatial dimension, which allows for very detailed diagnoses.
     

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

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We carry out the following examinations:

  • Skull (brain, eyes, facial skull, inner ear)
  • Temporomandibular joints
  • Neck soft tissue
  • Thorax (mediastinum, thorax wall, thoracic vessels, axilla)
  • Mamma diagnostics
  • Abdomen, pelvis, special procedure for liver diagnosis
  • Small and large intestine diagnosis
  • Entire musculoskeletal system (joint diagnosis, soft tissue diagnosis)
  • Vascular screening of the entire arterial system, e.g. cerebral arteries, carotid artery, aorta, renal arteries, pelvic-leg arteries
  • Full body MRI
  • Cardio-MRI

Before the examination

Before the examination starts, you will have to take off all metallic objects. This also includes watches, hearing aids as well as cheque or credit cards. Metal parts in the body, for example fixed dentures, joint prostheses or metal plates after an operation for a fracture normally do not represent a problem. Please inform the staff if you have any metal-containing parts, in particular

  • vessel supports such as stents
  • vascular clips
  • a prosthetic heart valve
  • an insulin pump
  • metal fragments
  • tattoos

Since malfunctions may occur in the magnetic field, patients with cardiac pacemakers are excluded from the examination as are patients with inner ear prostheses (cochlear implants).

During the examination

During the examination, at the start you are lying on a bench that slowly moves into the opening of the system, that is in the direction of the magnet. You will then be completely or - for example during an examination of the knee joint - partly inside the system.

Magnetic fields that are switched on and off create a relatively loud tapping noise that some patients find a nuisance. Therefore, you will get earplugs or a closed ear-protective device; you will often be able to hear music during the examination. Depending on the region of the body examined and on the problem, the examination will take a few minutes or up to half an hour.

Administration of a contrast agent

It may be necessary during an examination in the magnetic resonance imaging scanner to give you an injection of a special contrast medium. The injection is made into a systemic vein. The intravenous line is put in accordingly before examination.

Should the device seem too confined

In general, you can assume that the head is outside the device during an examination of the lower half of the body. Short anaesthesia may be required in rare cases. In this case, you will have to be accompanied for the examination, since you will not be allowed to drive for one day.

Some patients suffer from the relative narrowness of the device ("claustrophobia"). If this is the case for you, please talk to your general practitioner or the radiologist before the examination.

You do not need to be worried, this is an everyday situation for us. In case of doubt, you should lie on the patient bench and have the bench moved into the device for test purposes. If a feeling of unease occurs, we can give you an agent to relax.

RadiologieZentrum Rastatt | Niederwaldstr. 23/1 | 76437 Rastatt | Telephone: +49 (0) 7222 10467-0 | Fax: +49 (0) 7222 10467-29
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