If you’ve been in a car accident or are suddenly experiencing odd symptoms with your health, your doctor may order an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan to obtain information that an X-ray or a CT scan cannot show. An MRI can produce detailed, in-depth images especially when the patient is given an injection of a contrast dye in their veins called gadolinium.
Gadolinium is a chemical element that is on the Periodic Table of the Elements with the atomic number of 64. It is a silvery-white metal that reacts with bodily molecules during an MRI scan.
Usually, gadolinium in itself would be harmful to humans when absorbed into their system. However, the gadolinium used for MRI scans has gone through a process called chelation. During this process, chemical ions are used to remove its toxicity. As a result, the agent is made safe for humans while retaining its usefulness in the scanning procedure.
How Is Gadolinium Used in an MRI?
The gadolinium used in the MRI contrast agent enhances the quality of MRI pictures by showing a clear distinction of areas of the body where the dye collects. This shows the physician where there are abnormalities.
With the help of the gadolinium-based contrast agent, the radiologist will be able to create a comprehensive report about a body’s functionality. Some of the conditions that are usually examined using this technique are inflammations of internal organs and diseases related to the brain, spine, bones, and soft tissues.
The medical team will also be able to identify any disease or abnormality forming at an early stage. Cases of cancers, benign tumors, and abnormalities of the heart can be adequately assessed through the help of the gadolinium contrast dye.
Preparation for the Scan
Before you have an MRI scan, the radiologist may ask about your medical history and present condition. The MRI personnel will also ask whether you have any metal implants in your body; you do not have to worry about metal fillings in your teeth.
Be sure to inform the doctor and other personnel if you have a pacemaker, any prosthetics, or any severe kidney diseases. This is to make sure that being exposed to magnetic fields from a scanner will not cause any complications.
How Is the Gadolinium Injected for an MRI?
If gadolinium dye is being used in an MRI, the dye is usually injected into the patient’s arm before the MRI scan is performed. It may be administered by the radiologist or by the other medical personnel who assist in performing the scan.
In certain MRI scans, a gadolinium injection is not initially required but is needed halfway through the scan. This injection is done so that the radiologist and your physician can compare the scans that were performed without the gadolinium contrast agent (dye) and the ones with the agent, checking for any differences or noticeable features.
The gadolinium in the body will be eliminated naturally within about 24 hours after the injection. This agent is generally safe for the body, and cases of reactions are very uncommon.
MRI Center in Palm Beach County
If you are in Palm Beach County and you require an MRI scan, then consider yourself in the best hands with Independent Imaging. Our team of radiologists – which are specialized medical doctors – are here to provide your doctor with precise imaging scans and a knowledgeable analysis so that you can receive the most effective treatment.
To make an appointment for an MRI or another type of imaging scan, you may call (561) 795-5558, or fill out our online appointment request form. We look forward to seeing you.