Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive modern diagnostic research method that allows you to visually examine deeply located biological tissues. It is based on the physical phenomenon of nuclear magnetic resonance. This can be understood from the name of this method. When it is used, the electromagnetic response of atomic nuclei is measured. Most commonly used atoms of hydrogen.

MRI is

MRI is what?

Human tissues are saturated with hydrogen. This allows you to examine the organs and tissues using the features of the magnetic waves of this chemical element.

The proton (positively charged particle) of a hydrogen atom has a spin (magnetic moment), which is able to change its position in space when exposed to a powerful magnetic field. In an external magnetic field, its spin will be co-directed or oppositely directed relative to this field. Based on this diagnosis of MRI.

The investigated area is affected by electromagnetic radiation of a certain frequency. However, some protons change their magnetic moment to the opposite, after which they return to their initial position. At the end of exposure to electromagnetic radiation, a charged hydrogen particle releases relaxation energy. This energy during this process is recorded by special equipment (tomograph).

What is it used for?

MRI is a study that allows you to get an accurate image of all the soft internal organs and tissues of the body (brain and spinal cord, cartilage, etc.). This research method allows you to identify even the smallest changes and inflammatory processes, determine the speed of movement of biological fluids (blood, lymph, cerebrospinal fluid), see the reaction of the cerebral cortex to changes in the work of an organ. Fabrics with low water content (lungs, bones) are not examined using tomography, because their image is of poor quality. This study is especially widely used in neurosurgery and neurology. This method may have some contraindications.


The study of MRI has its own contraindications. They can be absolute and relative. Absolute contraindications suggest that this study can not be performed under any circumstances. With relative contraindications MRI is undesirable, but if absolutely necessary, it is allowed.

Absolute contraindications

  • Pacemaker.
  • Metal implants.
  • Ilizarov machines with a metal structure.
  • Middle ear implants with magnetizable metal or electronic components.

Relative contraindications

  • Insulin Pumps
  • Stimulants of the nervous system.
  • Artificial heart valves.
  • The implants of the inner ear are non-ferromagnetic.
  • Hemostatic clamps.
  • Non-ferromagnetic vascular clips (clips) for intracranial aneurysms.
  • Heart failure during decompensation.
  • Claustrophobia (panic fear of confined space).
  • Mental illness and inadequate patient condition.
  • Alcohol intoxication.
  • Extremely serious condition of the patient.
  • First trimester of pregnancy.
  • Tattoos that are made with dyes that have metallic components.

Titanium prostheses are not a contraindication for research, since they are non-ferromagnetic. In addition, there are weight limits for the passage of MRI. The weight of the patient should not be more than 120 kg.

The presence of an intrauterine device, breastfeeding and menstruation are not contraindicated for MRI. The final decision to refuse to conduct this procedure is taken by the radiologist MRI.

How to perform the survey?

How to do an MRI? This procedure does not require any special training. The exception is MRI of the pelvic organs. On the eve of the procedure, food can be taken, but in moderation. The patient is offered to remove all accessories (watches, hairpins, jewelry), as well as dentures, hearing aids and a wig, if such items exist. In addition, credit cards and bank cards must also be left outside the office, since they may deteriorate. All metal and metal-containing, as well as electronic objects should be left behind the door, because they can disrupt the magnetic field that is created during the examination procedure. This will reduce the quality of images. In addition, this magnetic field can spoil the electronics.

If the patient has any metal prostheses, artificial heart valves, implanted electronic devices, etc., it is necessary to inform the doctor about this. Diagnosis of MRI in some cases may be contraindicated (discussed above) because of the possible harm to the patient's health, as well as the impact on the result of the examination. If the doctor has decided that there are no contraindications, the patient will be invited to the office for examination. Some clinics offer to change into a bathrobe, but you can stay in your clothes if there are no ferromagnetic materials on her.

So, how is an MRI done? To perform this procedure, the patient lies in the tunnel scanner. During the research it is important to maintain absolute immobility. The quality of the pictures depends on it. The light is on in the tunnel and the fan is working to make it easier to breathe. Also there is a built-in microphone. If necessary, you can talk to the doctor who conducts the examination.

Some examinations are carried out with a contrast agent. If necessary, the contrast is injected into a vein at the elbow of the arm.

How long does the procedure take?

This type of study lasts from 15 to 45 minutes. After the end of the procedure, I can ask the patient to stay a little until the time until his pictures are fully studied by specialists, and there is no certainty that they are of high quality, i.e. there is no need to do additional ones.

MRI for young children

Usually, MRI is prescribed to children if the doctor suspects a pathology at which the likelihood of damage to brain structures is high. Examination of other internal organs with the help of this method is prescribed to children less frequently.

This procedure is recommended for children after 5 years. It is very important that the child lies motionless during the study. It takes 15 to 40 minutes. It is clear that such a time without movement is very difficult for a small patient to withstand. If the child behaves uneasily during the study, the pictures will be of poor quality and will not carry any information for the doctor.

Mom is allowed to be in the office during the examination of her child. A microphone is built into the tomograph apparatus and there is an opportunity to talk with the baby during the procedure.

As a last resort, if you can’t do without this study, you can do an MRI scan for children and younger. But in this case, the use of anesthesia is allowed to immobilize the child.

MRI for free under the policy OMS

Every citizen of the Russian Federation has a medical insurance policy. Is it possible to make an MRI on the OMS policy for free? The answer is yes, but not always. In the medical insurance necessarily included in the list of free services. If MRI diagnostics at the time of registration of the policy was included in this list, then in the state medical institution, where there is a tomograph, you can easily go through this procedure for free. But for all such research is impossible to make free. After all, MRI is a high-tech and expensive research. In public clinics, however, free quotas for MRI are allocated. But they are few - only a few procedures per month. If necessary, this quota can be obtained. To undergo this diagnostic procedure for free, the patient must have with him an informed referral from the attending physician. If there is such a referral, the patient can be queued for this type of diagnosis, or if the procedure can be paid for at any convenient time for the patient. The doctor should tell you exactly where you can get an MRI for free. If doctors cannot provide this information, you can contact your insurance company directly.

MRI: cost

A fee-based MRI procedure can be done both in public medical institutions and in commercial clinics. As you already understood, MRI services are not cheap. The cost depends on the type of equipment used for the study, the prestige of the clinic and its distance from the city center. In addition, at night, MRI is somewhat cheaper. Typically, this procedure in clinics operates a system of discounts, but you need to know in advance. For example, the following categories of citizens can get a 5% discount on MRI:

  • Retired.
  • Participants and war veterans.
  • Chernobyl accident liquidators.
  • Invalids of the first and second groups.
  • Blockade
  • Participants of the Second World War.
  • Medical workers upon presentation of a diploma of medical education and a certificate of employment that the citizen is currently working in the specialty.

The price also depends on the use of the contrast agent during the MRI procedure. The cost of research with contrast will be higher than without it. The accuracy of diagnosis with the use of this substance is increased significantly.

The cost depends on the survey area. The average price for a survey of one zone without contrast is from 3,500 to 8,000 rubles.

Could health damage MRI?

If all the necessary requirements are met (remove all metal and electronic objects) this type of research cannot do any harm. At least, to date, such cases have not been recorded. X-rays are not used here, so the procedure can be repeated as many times as necessary.

If the patient has a pregnancy of up to 12 weeks, doctors assume that there is a small risk to the fetus, but this assumption is purely theoretical. Patients suffering from claustrophobia, before carrying out the procedure should be warned about this specialist who will perform the study. In this case, it is allowed to invite one of the close relatives to the procedure.