Categories: MRI scan

MRI with or without contrast? Which one do I need?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is the most common imaging type.  This scan uses intense magnets and radio waves to produce detailed images of the body.   Doctors most often refer patients for contrast or non-contrast MRI scans. MRI scans continue to remain on the forefront due to their reliability and benefit in identifying many conditions and ailments. Furthermore, MRI machinery and quality of scans continue to improve assisting doctors in creating the best treatment plans for patients.

The Two Different Types of MRI Scans

Contrast MRI scans use gadolinium either orally or intravenously. The primary benefit of contrast medium is it helps enhance the image quality during the MRI scan.  Patients often assume contrast is always needed, however, the need for contrast is specialized to a certain type of MRI exams. For example, if inflammation is a primary concern, a contrast MRI procedure would fit best.  Additionally, patients who suspect tumors or other abnormalities will benefit from a more detailed contrast MRI. On the contrary, non-contrast MRI scans simply do not use the use of any contrast medium. Non-contrast MRI scans still represent the majority of scans doctors refer patients out to get.  Unlike contrast, non-contrast MRI provides substantial images of blood vessels.  These scans help identify blockages in vessels, as well as any aneurysms present.

Scheduling a Contrast or Non-Contrast MRI Scan

Obtaining an MRI scan is not always simple or affordable. Insured patients often suffer from high deductible out of pocket expenses. On the other hand, uninsured folks do not know where to go for the MRI exam. Thankfully, freestanding imaging centers are a great alternative to big hospitals radiology departments. These facilities provide excellent cash pay discounts, fast production of radiology reports, and same-day patient appointments. In addition, they will work with referring doctors to send patient images as well as reports in a timely manner.

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