A Head MRI is a diagnostic tool that uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field, rather than x-rays, to provide clear and detailed pictures of internal organs and tissues within your head. This procedure may be performed with or without an intravenous contrast media depending upon what your doctor would like to have visualized.
Who performs the procedure?
The procedure is performed by a MRI Technologist with the assistance of a Radiologist.
Why is this procedure performed?
This procedure is performed to visualize normal and diseased tissue in the head. It is a useful means of documenting brain abnormalities and it is commonly used to check for disease of the pituitary gland. MRI can detect tiny areas of tissue abnormality in patients with disease of the eyes or the inner ear.
Where is the procedure performed?
University Imaging Center
University of Maryland Professional Building, Suite 110
419 West Redwood Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
University of Maryland Medical Center
Department of Diagnostic Radiology, 2nd Floor
22 South Greene Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Is there any prep for this procedure?
If contrast is being administered, you will have to have blood work drawn within 30 days of your procedure. If you have any type of hair glue it must be washed out completely prior to the MRI. Failure to do so will result in having to be rescheduled.
What can I expect before the procedure?
Once you arrive at the Imaging Center, you will have to register at the front desk. Please have your insurance information ready at this time. After registration, you will be escorted to a dressing room to put on a gown if you have any metal on your clothing. You will be asked to remove all metal objects including jewelry, watches and hairpins. Dyes used in tattoos may contain iron and could heat up during MRI, but this is rarely a problem.
What can I expect during the procedure?
You will lie on your back on the MRI table and a radio antenna device called a surface coil will be positioned around the upper part of your head. After the Technologist positions you with only your head inside the MRI machine, the scan will begin. There are loud tapping or knocking noises heard at certain phases of imaging; ear plugs may help. If contrast material is to be injected, you may feel brief pain from the needle stick and a sense of warmth when the material is injected, which takes one to two minutes.
How long is the procedure?
This procedure takes approximately 15 minutes. There will be an additional 15 minutes if contrast is administered.
What can I expect after the procedure?
After the procedure,the results are sent to your doctor and you may resume normal activity.
Are there any risks to this procedure?
An undetected metal implant may be affected by the strong magnetic field.
Are there any alternatives to this procedure?
A CT scan or general X-ray may be used as an alternative to this procedure.
How do I schedule an appointment?
Please contact the Radiology Access Center at 410-328-3225 to schedule an appointment.
For more information about the Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine or to contact one of our radiologists, call the University Physicians Consultation and Referral Service at 1-800-492-5538 (patients) or 1-800-373-4111 (physicians).
This page was last updated: January 22, 2014