MRI Head

What is it?

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the head does not use X-ray radiation. It instead uses a powerful magnetic system to make images of the brain and brain tissue area. It can create dozens or sometimes hundreds of images in a short time.

What is it for?

A head MRI can identify and check bleeding in the brain, infection, tumors, multiple sclerosis, stroke and birth defects.

How to prepare

  • You will be given special instructions about what to eat and drink prior to the exam
  • Talk to your health care provider about your medical history, current medical condition, medicines you are taking and any allergies you have
  • You will be asked if you have any implanted medical devices. Implanted medical devices can malfunction or cause problems during an MRI.


  • An allergic reaction may occur from the use of a contrast material (dye)
  • The strong magnetic fields can cause pacemakers and other implants to malfunction
  • Metal inside your body may be moved or shifted slightly because of the magnetic fields
  • An MRI is not recommended if you are pregnant, as it can cause a harmful increase in the temperature of the amniotic fluid

What happens during?

  • You may be given a sedative to help you relax and feel comfortable and less anxious
  • You will be positioned on a moveable examination table. Straps, braces and fasteners may be used to keep you still during the procedure. It’s important to keep still to ensure that precise images are taken.
  • Contrast material may be used. It is injected in your hand or arm by I.V. The contrast material helps to clearly see specific areas.
  • You will be in a separate room from the MRI technologist but you will be watched and in constant communication with the technologist.
  • The scan takes between 30 to 60 minutes but may go longer

What happens after?

  • There is no recovery time unless you were given a sedative to relax
  • You can resume your regular diet and activities following the MRI

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