What Are the Side Effects of Having an MRI?

Are you concerned that you may have suffered an injury? If so, then your doctor may recommend that you receive an MRI. An MRI is a magnetic resonance imaging scan. Essentially, this is a machine that uses a powerful magnet to create an image of your organs, bones, and soft tissues. Different molecules in your body react to the magnet in different ways. It is these differences that allow the computer to produce an image of the inside of your body.

If your doctor has ordered an MRI in Florida, you may be concerned about complications and side effects. Learn more about MRI scans below.

MRI Scans With and Without Contrast

First, it is important to understand that there are multiple types of MRI scans. The first differentiating factor is whether your MRI scan will be performed with or without contrast. A contrast agent is a substance administered intravenously to make it easier for the doctor to see certain things on the MRI. Depending on what the doctor is looking for, he or she may administer contrast. Before you decide to have an MRI done, be sure to ask the doctor whether the scan is being done with or without contrast.

Both scans are safe, but there could be some minor risks if you have contrast administered before an MRI scan. This scan will also take longer because the doctor will need to administer contrast before the scan can start.

MRI Scans With and Without Anesthesia

Next, you need to ask the doctor whether you are having an MRI scan done with or without anesthesia. This is relatively straightforward. If you think you can hold still for the entire MRI scan, then you do not need anesthesia. If you cannot hold still for the entire MRI scan, then you need anesthesia. Some of the reasons why someone might require anesthesia for an MRI scan include:

  • A lot of children get nervous before an MRI scan and cannot hold still.
  • Some adults have anxiety or claustrophobia that makes it difficult for them to hold still for the entire MRI scan.
  • Some patients may have suffered serious injuries that are incredibly painful and cannot hold still as a result of their injuries.

If you cannot hold still, you need anesthesia to put you to sleep. That way, you stay still for the duration of the scan, and the doctor can see what he or she is looking for.

There Are No Side Effects of MRIs Without Contrast or Anesthesia

First, understand that there are no possible side effects or complications if you have an MRI administered without contrast or anesthesia. An MRI is a giant magnet. It creates a very detailed image, and it does not use any radiation. Even though the scan takes a long time, it is a popular option because it is so safe. Therefore, unless you are getting contrast or anesthesia administered, you should not worry about any side effects or complications during or after your MRI scan.

Contraindications To MRI Scans

At the same time, there are a few reasons why you might not be allowed to get an MRI scan. These are not necessarily complications or side effects, but they are reasons for avoiding an MRI scan completely.

Some of the potential contraindications to an MRI scan include:

  • If you have metal anywhere in your body, such as a metal hip or knee implant, you cannot get an MRI scan.
  • If you have an older pacemaker, you may not be allowed to get an MRI scan. If you have a newer pacemaker, you should check with your doctor to see if you are allowed to get an MRI scan with that specific pacemaker in place.
  • If you have a prosthetic heart valve, you should talk to your cardiologist about whether you can get an MRI scan. Some types of heart valves might not be compatible with an MRI machine.
  • Finally, some MRI scanners have a weight limit. If you are over the weight limit, you might not be permitted to get an MRI scan.

Remember that an MRI is a giant magnet. If you have metal anywhere in or around your body, the machine will suck it right out. This is why you should also talk to your doctor if you have older tattoos with metal pins. They are not necessarily compatible with an MRI scanner either.

Potential Contrast Complications

If you have an MRI with contrast, there may be some side effects stemming from the contrast agent. Understand that side effects of contrast are unusual, but there are a few side effects you may experience. These include:

  • You may experience nausea, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea.
  • You may develop a mild skin rash after the scan is done.
  • You might develop a slight headache.
  • You may notice that your skin starts to feel flush.

Again, these complications are unusual, but they are possible. Furthermore, if you have had an allergic reaction to any contrast agent in the past, be sure to notify your doctor before the scan begins.

Potential Anesthesia Complications

If anesthesia is required prior to the MRI, there might be some potential side effects or complications. A few possible complications of anesthesia include:

  • You may develop an allergic reaction to the anesthetic agent, which is why it is important for you to talk to your doctor before having anesthesia administered for an MRI.
  • There is a chance that you may develop nausea and vomiting after the scan.
  • If general anesthesia is used, you may need to be intubated. Therefore, your throat may feel sore afterward.
  • Some people develop a headache after they wake up from anesthesia.

Understand that possible side effects and complications of anesthesia will vary depending on the type of anesthetic agent that is used. Even though there are some situations where anesthesia is necessary, you should keep these possible side effects and complications in mind.

Trust Doctor Wagner for Help With an MRI Scan in Florida

Ultimately, an MRI scan is very safe. Even though there are some rare complications and side effects that could develop following the administration of contrast or anesthesia, an MRI is a powerful scan that can produce a very detailed image. If you have questions or concerns about an MRI scan, be sure to reach out to Doctor Wagner. We are proud to serve patients in Central Florida, and it would be our pleasure to answer any questions or concerns you might have about an MRI scan. Give us a call today to make an appointment with our team!

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