Health A to Z Last updated on 2023-02-07 10:48:30
MRI Scan Side Effects: Is MRI safe for everyone?
- Dr Pavani Battula
- 6 Min Read
- Fact Checked
The MRI is a non-invasive diagnostic tool that uses strong radio waves and magnetic fields to produce detailed images of your body’s internal organs. The MRI scan itself does not cause any harm to the body or cause any long-term side effects.
However, in some cases, a contrast medium, which is a type of dye, may be used during the MRI scan to enhance the visibility of certain structures or tissues. The contrast medium is typically injected into a vein through an IV line.
While contrast medium is generally considered safe, some individuals may experience mild side effects such as skin rash, dizziness, headache, or nausea. These side effects are only temporary and resolve within a few hours to a few days.
It’s important to discuss any concerns or questions you may have about the contrast medium with your radiographer before the procedure. They will be able to provide you with information about the type of contrast medium being used, the expected benefits and potential risks, and how to manage any side effects if they occur.
Overall, MRI scans are considered safe for most people and are an important tool for healthcare professionals in diagnosing and treating various conditions.
Table of contents
- Should I be worried about getting an MRI?
- Who is more likely to experience MRI scan side effects?
- Who should avoid MRI?
- Is MRI more harmful than CT scan?
- Does MRI have side effects on the brain?
- Does MRI affect kidneys?
- Can an MRI damage body cells?
- Can MRI damage eyes?
- How long do MRI side effects last?
- What are the two major disadvantages of MRI scans?
- Why do you need a blood test before an MRI?
Should I be worried about getting an MRI?
We know that getting an MRI can be stressful. But you shouldn’t worry. People usually ask about MRI scan side effects only because they want to understand the potential risks and consequences of the procedure.
This is a very common concern that many people have, which is perfectly normal, especially when they are undergoing an MRI for the first time or have a medical condition that may affect their tolerance for the procedure, or have a history of adverse reactions to medical procedures.
Therefore, understanding the possible side effects can help patients make informed decisions about their health and well-being and feel more at ease about undergoing an MRI scan.
Having said that, if you are looking to get an MRI scan done, you could check out some of our services — we provide up to 50% off on X-rays, MRIs, and other scans. With our fast service, you can receive your reports within just 12 hours and have access to your films in as little as 15 to 20 minutes*. Convenient same-day slots are also available for your convenience.Book an MRI scan with us at NABL-certified labs today!
Who is more likely to experience MRI scan side effects?
Anyone undergoing an MRI scan can potentially experience side effects. However, some individuals may be more likely than others to experience them.
Factors that increase the likelihood of MRI scan side effects include
Use of contrast medium: Individuals who receive a contrast medium as part of their MRI scan are more likely to experience side effects, as the contrast medium can cause allergic reactions or other adverse effects.
Health conditions: Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as kidney problems, certain allergies, asthma, anemia, low BP, or sickle cell diseases, may be more likely to experience side effects from the contrast medium used during the MRI. But this is extremely rare.
Sensitivity to medications: People who have a known sensitivity to certain medications or substances may be more likely to experience side effects from the contrast medium used during the MRI.
Pregnancy: Pregnant women are also more likely to experience side effects from the contrast medium used during the MRI. However, if your doctor has recommended an MRI scan, do not hesitate to get it done. Please note that the benefits of getting an MRI done outweigh the risk. But if you have any concerns, kindly speak to your doctor.Read all about MRI scan here: preparation, procedures, risks involved, and more.
Who should avoid MRI?
While Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a safe and non-invasive diagnostic tool for most people, some individuals should avoid MRI or take special precautions when undergoing the procedure. These individuals include:
- People with implanted medical devices: Certain medical devices, such as pacemakers, implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), and cochlear implants, can be affected by the strong magnetic fields used during MRI.
- Pregnant women: The safety of MRI during pregnancy is not well established, and it’s generally recommended that pregnant women avoid MRI during the first trimester unless it’s deemed medically necessary.
- People with metal in their body: MRI can be dangerous for individuals with certain types of metal in their body, such as shrapnel or bullet fragments, as the strong magnetic fields can cause the metal to move or heat up.
- People with kidney problems: If you have kidney problems, you may be at increased risk of experiencing side effects from the contrast medium used during the MRI. So again, unless it’s deemed medically necessary, doctors wouldn’t recommend an MRI.
- People with a fear of enclosed spaces: Some individuals may experience claustrophobia, or fear of enclosed spaces, during an MRI, as they may feel trapped in the narrow MRI machine. Getting scanned inside an MRI machine requires you to be still for a certain amount of time. Therefore, if you are claustrophobic or anxious, you may want to speak to your doctor.
In general, MRI is a safe procedure with minimal to no side effects. So please don’t hesitate to get it done when prescribed. Before getting an MRI scan, you should also talk to your doctor about your medical history and any possible risk factors, if there are any. This will help them decide if any precautions or changes need to be made to the procedure.
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Is MRI more harmful than CT scan?
No MRI isn’t harmful; else, your doctor wouldn’t prescribe it to you. But if you have a medical condition such as kidney disease, low BP anemia, asthma, or are allergic to certain medications, you should speak to your doctor before an MRI procedure.
Does MRI have side effects on the brain?
No, MRI scans do not generally have side effects on the brain. However, some people may experience discomforts, such as nausea, headaches, or other allergic reactions to the contrast material. But this is very rare. Speak to your doctor if you experience any discomfort.
Does MRI affect kidneys?
In extremely rare cases, MRI scans can sometimes affect the function of the kidneys, particularly if contrast material is used. The contrast material, typically given intravenously, can cause a temporary reduction in kidney function, particularly in people who already have kidney problems. However, this is generally reversible and does not cause permanent damage to the kidneys. It is important to inform the radiologist if you have any kidney problems before the MRI scan so that they can take appropriate precautions.
Can an MRI damage body cells?
No, MRI does not damage body cells. MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) uses non-ionizing radiation in the form of strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce images that do not have enough energy to damage cells.
Can MRI damage eyes?
No, MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans are not known to cause damage to the eyes. However, individuals with any kind of implant or foreign body may need to take special precautions. It is important to inform your doctor of any metal in or near your eyes before undergoing an MRI.
How long do MRI side effects last?
The length of time that MRI side effects last can vary depending on the type of side effect and the individual. Some common side effects of MRI, such as discomfort or anxiety from being in a confined space, may go away shortly after the scan. If a contrast agent was used during the scan, some people might experience mild symptoms such as a warm or flushed feeling, nausea, or itching, which usually resolve within a few hours. Rarely, more serious side effects, such as an allergic reaction, can occur, but these are typically treated and resolved quickly. If you experience any side effects after an MRI, it is important to contact your doctor to discuss the best course of action.
What are the two major disadvantages of MRI scans?
The two major disadvantages of MRI scans are:
- Cost: MRI scans are often more expensive than other imaging tests, such as X-rays or CT scans, and may not be covered by all insurance plans.
- Time and discomfort: MRI scans can take longer than other imaging tests, and some people may experience discomfort or anxiety from lying still in a confined space for an extended period of time.
Why do you need a blood test before an MRI?
A blood test called Renal function test may be required before an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan to assess the health of your kidneys. They do it to ensure that the contrast agent they inject into your blood is safe for you.
Read more on 8 things you should know before going for an MRI.Book MRI Scan at NABL Certified labs today!
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