Understanding the Intricacies of Brain MRI

Understanding the Intricacies of Brain MRI

A brain MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan is a non-invasive and painless diagnostic modality that generates crystal-clear images of the structures of the brain. MRI is based on the principles of the usage of magnetic...


A brain MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan is a non-invasive and painless diagnostic modality that generates crystal-clear images of the structures of the brain. MRI is based on the principles of the usage of magnetic fields and radio waves to take pictures of the human body. The images are then processed with the help of a computer. As opposed to a CT (computed tomography) scan, MRI does not use radiation to procure images. At present, MRI is the most preferred and sensitive mode of image testing of the human head, especially the brain, in comparison to other imaging methods such as CT scans or X-rays.

Brain MRI scans help to detect neurological disorders

A brain MRI can help in accessing a range of neurological disorders. The clear images of a brain MRI assist in analyzing brain damage from head injury or the impact of degenerating disorders like Alzheimer's disease and identifying and monitoring other neurological ailments like brain tumors, sclerosis, and strokes. It can also help in accessing eye disease, inflammation, infection, and vascular irregularities, causes responsible for a stroke

The process of brain MRI

The MRI machine is like a hollow cylindrical tube, which is surrounded by a large magnet. The patient has to wear loose comfortable clothing and lie down on a table that slides into the machine or the tube. The patient will have to remain still throughout the process and will have to remove objects in the body like jewelry, eyeglasses, metal implants, and dental work (removable) along with every other item that may interfere with the magnetic scan and jeopardize the test.

The patient needs to discuss every detail about any foreign objects in the body. The healthcare provider will be the best judge to decide on the metal implants in a patient’s body. In certain cases, the scan may be aborted.

In the process, there is the creation of a magnetic field around the body, which is so strong that it can realign water molecules present in the tissues. Thereafter, radio waves are passed through the body to detect the molecules relaxing back to a random alignment triggering a signal at different angles within the patient’s body. 

Then, with the help of a computer, this resonance is processed into a two or three-dimensional image of the tissue being scanned. It then differentiates between soft tissues, bone, and fluid-filled spaces by their water content and structural properties. 

Use of contrast dye

In the case of some patients, it becomes necessary to use a contrast agent, which boosts the images, enhancing the clarity of certain tissues and areas. One of the important components of an MRI is that there are a lot of sounds of knocking and grating noises, which come from the machine.

So, to cut this noise, the technicians usually provide the patient with earplugs or earphones. In case, it is not given, the patient can voluntarily ask for them.

However, there is constant communication between the patient and the technicians sitting in the adjacent room throughout the scanning process. 

Another key feature of an MRI scan is that it doesn’t use ionizing radiation to capture images. For an MRI scan of the brain, it might take time of up to 60 minutes depending on the areas the doctor wants to investigate. Usually, the process takes from 30 minutes to an hour for most scans of a body part. 

It is a non-invasive and painless diagnosis technique. It also doesn’t carry any risk for the patients. 

Yet, it does have some shortcomings. Some patients may have claustrophobia and find it difficult to remain inside a confined tube for long. For that, certain facilities have an open MRI machine. These machines don’t enclose the patient completely and they are less confining, bringing relief to them. These machines offer the same image quality like any normal MRI machine would. In some scanning, these machines may not be used.

Otherwise, you should talk to your doctor or technicians about it. Your doctor will provide some medication to calm the anxiety so that the process is carried out seamlessly. But, remember, such medication can be provided only by the doctor, the technicians are not eligible to prescribe any such medications. Always be mindful of this fact to be on the safer side. As already mentioned, there is a strong magnetic field generated during the MRI process and patients who have implanted objects in their body may not be eligible to take the test. 

The radiologist plays a key role

The radiologist is pivotal to the process of an MRI brain scan. It is important to have co-operation between the radiology technologist and the patient for a successful and accurate scan. 

The radiology technologist is usually a highly skilled healthcare provider, who dons a pivotal role in operating the MRI machine and making sure that the safety of the patient is maintained at every moment throughout the process. 

The radiologists are the ones who explain the whole process to the patient before it begins. They also answer any doubts or questions from the patients, addressing concerns. So, they help in assuaging the anxiety of the patients while building trust. 

The radiologist is the person who guides the patient in removing any metal objects or accessories that could interfere with the magnetic field. They carefully put the patient on the examination table that slides into the machine. They ensure that proper alignment is maintained which will help in immobilization to reduce motion artifacts. 

The technologist sits in an adjacent room and keeps monitoring the patient and communicates via an intercom system, offering instructions and support during the scan. 

It is also expected that the patient cooperates during the process. He or she should remain still and follow the directions of the radiologist, such as holding the breath or assuming specific positions, to get high-quality images. 

It is very important to remain immovable during the process as even slight movements can blurry and distort the images and compromise the diagnostic accuracy.

Patients will have to understand the importance of their active participation and adhere to the guidelines provided. It is the cooperation and collaboration between the radiology technologist and the patient that will ensure a proper MRI brain scan.

It will contribute to the efficiency, reliability, and overall success of the scan. This will eventually ensure accurate diagnoses and effective treatment intervention. 

MRI scan price of brain

The total cost of an MRI brain scan is governed by a slew of factors, which include the location, healthcare provider, and specific circumstances of the patient. 

It is usually a costly procedure for which many people fret over an MRI scan price brain. It is because it is an advanced technology where expensive and highly evolved equipment is involved. However, despite the cost, one must get it done for proper diagnosis and subsequent treatment procedures to enjoy a healthy and long life. 


So, we have seen that an MRI brain scan is a complex and important diagnostic modality to treat various conditions of the brain. It can help doctors to make a proper diagnosis and provide better treatment to the patients.