Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) works without X-rays and provides razor-sharp, cross-sectional images from the respective region of the body being examined. The modern devices we use work with a 1.5 Tesla magnet. There are no known harmful effects associated with this field strength. Further therapeutic procedures are usually based on this magnetic resonance imaging (and clinical examination).
At the beginning of the examination, the patient is moved on a table into the opening of the MRI machine. Our tomographs have an air of openness – this also makes them very suitable for examining anxious patients.
MRI scans of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine usually take no more than ten minutes. To obtain excellent image quality, it is important to lie still, relax and maintain this position – if possible. Our experienced medical-technical radiology assistants are there to support and assist you during the entire examination.
It may be useful to administer a contrast agent, for example, if the section of the spine that is being examined has already been operated on or you have had surgery in our clinic and the MRI is being used to check this. All that is required is a very small quantity of an agent that does not contain iodine and is very well tolerated. The contrast agent is injected into a vein in the arm. There are no known side effects, except for extremely rare hypersensitivity reactions. If you have any known allergies, please tell us about these before the examination.
A major advantage of magnetic resonance imaging is that, in contrast to other X-ray procedures, it does not involve any exposure to radiation.
The MRI images are calculated using highly complex mathematical algorithms and enable any free representation of the examined region of the body in all spatial directions.
Using MRI, organs and tissue structures can be visualised down to details of less than 1 mm in size. Compared to other examination methods, MRI is able to better differentiate oedemas, scars, bleeding, new tissue formation or other changes.
The high soft tissue differentiation allows nerves, intervertebral discs and degenerative changes of the spine, bones and joints to be better delineated.
All metal objects must be removed before the MRI examination. Clothing with zips, metal buttons as well as bras, hearing aids, dentures and jewellery must remain in the changing room during the examination.
Patients who suffer from claustrophobia may, under certain conditions, receive a sedative that is administered intravenously. After the sedative medication has been administered, it should take approximately one to two hours for it to wear off.
For this reason, you can only be discharged from our MRI department one hour after the examination at the earliest and if accompanied by an adult. The person accompanying you must be present throughout the entire examination and subsequent waiting time. You will not be able to drive any vehicle for at least 24 hours after receiving your sedative.
If you are to receive a contrast agent before your scan, you must take care not to eat anything during the one hour before your examination (you may have drinks that are gentle on the stomach).
Unfortunately, an MRI scan may not be performed on patients who have a pacemaker.
In patients with
- intracranial vascular clips,
- a cochlear implant,
- medication pump
- or any other implanted electronic device,
an examination is only possible under certain conditions.
To be able to assess whether you can be examined, we need all the information you have about the medical implant. We therefore ask you to provide us with all relevant documents (for example, implant ID card, doctor’s letter). A joint prosthesis (such as a knee or hip implant) or fixed metal inlays in the teeth (such as fillings and bridges) do not represent a contraindication.