MRI started developing in the 1970s-1980s and it has become one of the most important medical diagnostic techniques. An MRI Scan is magnetic resonance imaging, a process of medical imaging technique used in radiology to derive pictures of the anatomy and physiological processes of the body by using strong magnetic field gradients and radio waves to generate images of the organs in the body. MRI is done for various body parts of which the brain is one of the most important.
An MRI for the brain is gaining popularity as it is one of the most effective methods to diagnose conditions inside the brain. Doctors can bill for Brain MRIs using the CPT code 70553.
Why is a Brain MRI done?
A brain MRI is done for numerous purposes when a person meets with an accident, a brain MRI is a first and foremost thing ordered by the doctors. However, there are various other reasons for doing a brain MRI.
- Multiple sclerosis.
- Aneurysms (the bulging in the blood vessels in the brain).
- Any type of spinal cord injury.
- Hydrocephalus (building up of spinal fluid in the brain cavities).
- Hormonal disorders such as acromegaly and Cushing’s syndrome.
- Swelling in the head.
- Any blood vessel issue.
- Head injury.
- Unexplained dizziness, weakness, and seizures.
- Change in behavior.
- Blurry vision.
- Chronic headache.
If the doctor finds any of these conditions worrying he/she may order a brain MRI.
A functional MRI is also done for the brain for people who are about to go for brain surgery. It helps to pinpoint the areas in the brain responsible for speech, language, and body movements. MRIs have developed a lot and newer technologies are being extensively used. There is a special type of MRI known as MRA(magnetic resonance angiography) which is used for examining blood vessels in the brain.
How is a brain MRI done?
The MRI machine is a long cylindrical machine where the patient has to lie down and the table will slide in. Clear images will be taken inside. However, some precautions have to be followed before going in for an MRI, especially a brain MRI.
- Avoid metallic objects.
- Inform the doctor before-hand about the medicines you take.
- Inform whether you are allergic to the contrast dye.
- Inform if you are pregnant.
- If you are claustrophobic, the doctor will provide you with anti-anxiety medicines.
- You must inform the technician if you have any implants within your body like a dental implant, a stent, prosthetic limbs, pacemakers, artificial heart valves, etc.
How to prepare for a brain MRI?
Once you enter the clinic, you will be told to change into the hospital gown. Any zipper, jewelry, or metallic objects will not be allowed inside the clinic as it may interfere with the system and result. You would be given a contrast dye usually gadolinium before the MRI through IV to help the MRI machine see parts of your brain in a better way.
The MRI machine makes a whirring noise for which the technician may give you earplugs.
You will be in contact with the doctor through a microphone.
How much does a brain MRI cost?
An MRI costs $1,200 to $5,000 on average depending on the type of MRI one goes for. The average cost of a brain MRI ranges from $250 to $12,000 which varies according to the type of place you go for. It also varies whether you are insured. The cost of a brain MRI in a high deductible plan for a clinic ranges between $12,00 to $2,400 whereas the same for a hospital costs between $2,100 to $12,000. A brain MRI cost with insurance in a clinic is $300 to $800 whereas in a hospital it is $700 to $2,000.
Brain MRI cost for cash patients in a hospital is $500 to $2,000 whereas in a clinic the same brain MRI cost will go down to $250- $400.
The cost of a brain MRI is, however, reducing as the availability is increasing. The cost of an MRI machine and its maintenance is costly for which the high cost of MRI is observed. There are certain factors on which these costs depend on-
- Depending on the geographical location, a metro city will have a less cost of brain MRI.
- The type of lab you choose for and the type of machine they use.
- The contrast dye used for the brain MRI also varies.
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MRI Brain: Purpose, Precautions, Risks & Cost (50% Off)