Technology is always changing, especially when it comes to the medical field. But one thing that remains constant is the spread of miscommunication and misinformation surrounding medical procedures and testing like MRI machines. In order to dispel some of the myths that continue to surround this commonly used type of radiology, we've compiled three of the most prevalent MRI scan myths in order to set the record straight.
Myth: MRI scans put you at risk for radiation exposure and can cause cancer
Reality: Radiation exposure from an MRI scan is never a concern.
Your radiologist will tell you that whether you have a closed or an open MRI, you are never at risk for radiation exposure. "MRI" actually stands for magnetic resonance imaging, which means that these scans use only magnetic power and radio waves to create images from the information captured in the scan. Radiation is never used under any circumstances and your MRI scan will not cause cancer.
Myth: MRI scans are used only for physical injuries
Reality: MRI scans have many other uses and can detect important conditions
Not only are the MRIs performed by radiologists useful for the sports injuries you see on TV, but they can also detect mental conditions and neurological disorders like Alzheimer's and bipolar disorder. They're also helpful for cancer prevention and for tracking nerve damage. The truth is that this one type of diagnostic imaging has many uses, and radiologists can help doctors perform their jobs much more efficiently.
Myth: Closed and Open MRI machines are equally effective
Reality: A closed MRI often produces better and more accurate results
Many patients appreciate having the option of having their scan performed with an Open MRI. Because MRI scans can last anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours in length, a traditional closed MRI machine may produce feelings of claustrophobia for some patients. But in some cases, that short-lived sensation may be well worth it to provide a more accurate diagnosis. Standard MRIs, especially 3T MRIs, are actually able to produce a much higher image quality than open MRI's, which can have a tremendous impact on your diagnosis. Although open MRI images are often usable and suitable, some conditions will show up more clearly with a closed MRI.