What is a MRI/MRA scan?
A MRI/MRA (Magnetic Resonance Imaging/Angiogram) is an imaging
study using powerful magnets and radio transmitters and receivers
to magnetize protons in the body’s water molecules.
Unlike some of the other imaging studies, X-ray is not used
in this study. Radio waves are “bounced” off of
water molecules and a computer forms an image. These “water”
images are highly sensitive and can show swelling and areas
of blood from hemorrhage, occlusion of vessels, vasculatures,
The test requires that you lie very still on a table which
will move through a tunnel-like structure that contains the
machine. The “tunnel” is somewhat narrow, which
may make some people feel uncomfortable. Metal or ferrous
objects such as earrings, cardiac pacing wires, hearing aids,
or aneurysm clips can cause problems with the machine, so
be sure to identify them to se if it is safe to proceed with
the test. In order to enhance the quality and power of the
scan to obtain very accurate images, you may receive a contrast
agent called gadolinium. This is a water-soluble non-radioactive
that is injected into a vein during the test.