General information on the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) method
What does MRI mean?
MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging, often also called nuclear spin tomography. MRI technology is a so-called non-invasive procedure, i.e. it is harmless to the body according to current knowledge. Unlike other diagnostic procedures, MRI technology does not use ionising radiation (radioactivity). According to current knowledge, based on more than 20 years of experience with MRI technology, which is used daily in all major clinics, there are no known side effects. Furthermore, there are no indications of negative long-term effects of MRI technology on the human body.
MRI examination procedure
You will lie on a table, which will move you into the cylindrical opening of the MR scanner where the strong magnetic fields are located. In addition, a frame (the magnetic coil) will be placed around your head. During the measurement you will hear a knocking sound. To prevent damage to your hearing, you will be given hearing protection before the measurement. The examination time is about 60 minutes in total, and you will be taken out of the MRI for a break halfway through. In the MRI, you will be asked to perform a previously rehearsed task (e.g. respond to certain sentences). Afterwards, a more detailed picture of the structure of your brain will be taken. It is therefore advisable to go to the toilet before the examination. In the MRI you have the possibility to contact the examiners via an intercom system. You will also be given an alarm button (pressure ball) to take with you into the MRI scanner. At your request, you can be wheeled out of the MR scanner at any time. Apart from possible discomfort resulting from lying still for a long time, you should not experience any discomfort during the examination.
The use of magnetic fields during the MRI examination precludes the participation of people who have electrical devices (e.g. pacemakers, medication pumps, etc.) or metal parts (e.g. screws after bone fractures) in or on their bodies. Likewise, the participation of women of childbearing age who are pregnant or could be pregnant is excluded, as the effect of the magnetic field on the embryo has not been sufficiently investigated. The spatial conditions in the MR tomograph do not permit the examination of persons with severe back complaints or excessive overweight. Also, large, rapid movements in the MR tomograph should be avoided in order not to induce a magnetic current.
For more information about the exclusion criteria or what fMRI means, please feel free to read our subject brochure.