Going for an MRI is not supposed to be a scary experience, but it causes some people intense anxiety. Many patients walk in with some apprehension toward the entire experience, usually because they believe that imaging is dangerous because of radiation. Although lying still in an MRI chamber is not the best feeling in the world, MRI scans are not all that bad. Here are three myths about MRI scans that need debunking.
Myth: MRIs Use Radiation
Many people fear MRI scans because they allegedly use radiation. MRI parts do not use x-rays; a magnetic resonance imaging scan uses radio frequency and magnetic fields to produce an image. CT scans and x-rays are the ones that use radiation, but you will have to go through 25 chest CT scans or 10,000 chest x-rays for it to be life-threatening.
Myth: MRI Scans Cause Infertility
Since MRIs do not use x-rays, it cannot be why someone becomes infertile from radiation. Besides, even CT scans (which do use x-rays) cannot cause infertility—for the human body to become affected in this way, it must have exposure to much more radiation.
Myth: Only Neurologists Use Brain Scans
Medical imaging is for more than looking at a person’s brain. MRI technology can help diagnose issues with the abdomen, spine, bones and joints, and blood vessels. An MRI is useful; it can catch and diagnose several issues like breast cancer, optic nerve damage, tumors, arthritis, and much more.
Although x-rays are beneficial, using high-resolution images like MRIs is necessary to diagnose issues that need a closer look. An MRI scanner provides richer details than an x-ray. For example, when you use an MRI to scan a region with a broken bone, it will be able to pick up tendon and ligament injuries, which x-rays cannot. With an MRI scan, a doctor will have more to analyze.
Myth: People With Metal Implants Cannot Get MRI Scans
This myth has more gray area than the first three. Generally speaking, if you’re getting an MRI scan and only have a small piece of metal in your body, you should be alright. Keep in mind, though, that MRIs do emit a powerful magnetic field. It could seriously injure a patient if someone brings a large metallic object into the scanning area. As such, you must remember to remove all external metallic objects from your body before you undergo an MRI scan.
The medical care provider or health facility where you are getting your scan will know everything there is to know about MRI parts and equipment. They can discuss potential concerns about metal interference or possible safety hazards that might arise from a scan. You can speak to the medical health professionals at your facility regarding your concerns about the scan.
An MRI scan should not be a traumatic experience, but it becomes one for many people. This anxiety is in part because of misinformation or lack of knowledge about the process. If you’re aware of what happens during a scan and how it affects your body, you will be less afraid when you need to go for one.
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