The Pros and Cons of MRIs That Your Patients Need to Know

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Technology has done wonders for society in many ways, but for the healthcare sector, these advances have helped to save lives. One great example of how tech has improved healthcare are the MRI scanners. These machines have been used for a long time now to help healthcare professionals see what’s happening inside someone’s body and can be much more effective than a CT scan or X-ray. 

However, like anything, there are certain risks attached to using MRI scanners and patients always need to be told about these before being sent for a scan. Below are some of the benefits of having an MRI scan and the risks involved to help you give your patients the information that they need.

Pros of MRI:

The benefits of having an MRI scan are that it isn’t an invasive procedure, therefore patients don’t have to worry about things going into their body or having any type of surgery just to get some kind of diagnosis or to check on the status of their condition.

As mentioned above, MRIs can give more detail than CT scans or X-rays, as they can differentiate between soft tissue, bone, and muscle more clearly. In addition to this, MRIs can provide 3D images of the body without using any radiation. While CT scans and X-rays are still safe, it is better to have no exposure to radiation rather than just a little where necessary, which is why MRIs are preferable. 

As the images captured with MRI scanners are much more detailed and can take pictures of parts of the body that are hard to see with CT and X-ray, they can be much better when used for diagnosis for a variety of conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, bone disorders, and diseases, strokes, and muscular issues.

Most patients will be referred to an MRI technician to have a scan done if they want to investigate symptoms or do a general health check. However, there are also express MRI services that patients can use without a referral or could be useful to use if there is a long wait for appointments and you want your patient to get seen as soon as possible. 

Cons of MRI:

Nothing is perfect, not even MRI, and there are some things patients should know before they have a scan to make sure the experience is safe and goes smoothly. Firstly, MRI scanners are very tight spaces, so for patients who have severe claustrophobia, a scan could be very distressing for them. 

The machine itself is very strongly magnetic; therefore, patients who have metal plates or pins in their body from previous surgeries, implanted electronic devices, artificial limbs, etc., must notify the technician before they have the scan, as it might not be the best option for them in case it interferes or pulls on these items. Most of the time it is safe for patients who do have them, but checks must always be carried out. 

Pregnant patients are also at a higher risk as there isn’t enough data on how MRI scans affect fetuses, so a urine sample and testing need to be carried about before a pregnant patient has a scan.

MRI scans can be hugely beneficial which is why they are commonly used in healthcare, but it’s important to let patients know the benefits and the drawbacks before they move forward with their scan.

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