An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan of the brain is a painless, noninvasive test that uses a magnetic field to produce detailed images of your brain and brain stem.
A brain MRI costs anywhere between $250-$12,000 depending on the scan type and the clinic location.
|Health insurance type||Clinic || Hospital |
|High-deductible patient||$1,200 – $2,400||$2,100 – $12,000|
|Insured patient (25% copay)||$300 – $800||$700 – $2,000|
|Cash patient||$250 – $400||$500 – $2,000|
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Brain MRI is useful in evaluating problems such as persistent headaches, dizziness, weakness, and blurry vision or seizures, and it can help to detect certain chronic diseases of the nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis. In some cases, MRI can provide clear images of parts of the brain that cannot be seen as well with other imaging methods, making it particularly valuable for diagnosing problems with the pituitary gland and brain stem.
It can help diagnose conditions such as:
There are several conditions, which may complicate the performance of the MRI, such as allergies or metal devices.
The radiologist may ask if you have allergies to iodine, drugs, food, or the environment, or if you have asthma. A brain MRI may require you to receive an injection of contrast material into the bloodstream. The contrast material most commonly used for an MRI exam is gadolinium.
However, even if a patient has an allergy to gadolinium, it may still be possible to use it after appropriate pre-medication. You can learn more about contrast agents here.
For patients with metal implants, an MRI exam is safe in most cases. People with the following implants cannot be scanned and should not enter the MRI scanning area:
In cases you have a tattoo, it is also needed to inform your radiologist. To get to know more about the risks connected with tattoos and MRI, click here.
In some cases, you may meed also fMRI examination – an imaging method developed to show regional, time-varying changes in brain metabolism, in other words, changing in areas of the brain that are active during a task. However, a regular MRI of the brain is performed for both abrupt onset or long-standing symptoms.