Magnetic resonance imaging of the abdominal cavity is one of the most popular diagnostic procedures. It makes it possible to examine all the organs of the gastrointestinal tract from any angle and fix pathological processes, anatomical defects of tissues of different density. One of the diagnosed organs is the spleen. What you need to know about the spleen, which pathologies can be detected with MRI and what to expect from the procedure?
What you need to know about magnetic resonance imaging
MRI is performed to identify pathological processes in the tissues of the human body. One of the organs examined is the spleen. Diagnosis will help to detect heart attack, inflammation, leukemia, typhoid fever, twisting legs, benign and malignant neoplasms.
That tomography is considered the most informative method of research. For example, an ultrasound scan will not be able to detect a tumor or abnormality of the soft tissues, and computed tomography will not provide the necessary amount of information when the organ is enlarged.
Layer-by-layer magnetic scanning is absolutely painless and safe. Scientists have proven that the magnetic field does not affect human health, so the procedure is available even for babies, pregnant women and elderly patients.
How does a tomograph work?
A tomograph is a large magnet that not only creates a magnetic field, but also captures, processes and transforms the received information into a three-dimensional image. The patient is a source of protons (a person consists of water, and elementary particles are contained in water).
If you place the source of protons in a magnet, then elementary particles will begin to radiate radio waves. Each radio wave will be endowed with a specific frequency and intensity. These characteristics depend on the location of the proton.
The computer captures the radio waves and, through mathematical calculations, finds the protons that emit them. Each radio wave belongs to a particular elementary particle, the tomograph can only correctly calculate its location. The equipment captures these values and transforms them into a three-dimensional image of the abdominal cavity.
Scanning and processing the results takes about 60 minutes. The time may vary depending on the area, the use of contrast and other things.
What is contrast?
Contrast is a special substance based on gadolinium, which is used during MRI. The drug is administered orally or intradermally, depending on the study area. For the diagnosis of spleen using the oral method.
Immediately prior to scanning, the patient is offered to drink a contrast medium diluted with ordinary drinking liquid. Gadolinium passes through the gastrointestinal tract, simultaneously interacting with all organs. What does it give?
The substance stains the spleen and other parts of the gastrointestinal tract and literally highlights them in the final image. The diagnostic result is more clear and detailed, which facilitates the work of medical staff. The attending physician can examine a section of the spleen at any angle and find even the most minor deviations from the norm.
In most cases, contrast is used for suspected cancer. Gadolinium helps to distinguish a tumor from soft tissues and make it as visible as possible.
The decision to use contrast is made by the attending physician. He warns the patient about this, conducts a short briefing, takes an allergy test and explains the essence of the manipulations. Contrast scanning is performed on an empty stomach.
The patient should refuse to eat 5-6 hours before the procedure. During the scan, a person may feel a slight nausea or a sensation of warmth throughout the body.
This is a normal reaction that quickly goes away on its own. If the condition worsens, be sure to inform the laboratory technician who is doing an MRI or your doctor if symptoms develop after diagnosis.
Indications and contraindications to the procedure
|Abdominal inflammatory / infectious processes||The presence of metal implants, stimulants and devices (for example, pacemakers or bracket systems)|
|Twisting the legs of the spleen||Tattoos (provided that the ink contains metallized substances)|
|Congenital or acquired organ defects (e.g. after mechanical injuries)||First trimester of pregnancy (doctors advise to protect the still unformed fetus from any intervention to minimize side effects)|
|Cancerous neoplasms, regardless of nature and stage||The general serious condition of the patient (be sure to report the deterioration of health to the attending physician. He will decide on further diagnosis and therapy)|
|Spleen infarction or an increased predisposition to the disease||Claustrophobia, various mental disorders (the patient will not be able to follow the instructions of the laboratory assistant, and additional stress can only exacerbate the pathology)|
|General diagnosis of the spleen before / after surgery|
|Evaluation of the effectiveness of the therapeutic course|
|Severe pain or discomfort in the spleen, regardless of etiology|
|Prophylactic examination of patients at high risk|
Features of the diagnosis of the spleen
Magnetic resonance imaging is classified as non-invasive diagnostic methods that do not require preliminary preparation (the exception is contrast scanning).
Before the procedure, the patient is asked to remove all metal objects and change into comfortable clothes without decorative elements. Why is this done? Metal can affect the magnetic field by distorting the final image. During the scan, the patient should remain completely still. Even the slightest inaccurate movement will ruin one or two scans, which will affect the three-dimensional picture.
Ask the technician to fix your body with soft straps. Their presence does not affect the functionality of MRI.
Before diagnosing, be sure to pass the medical documentation to the laboratory assistant. It contains a referral from the attending physician, an anamnesis and other specific instructions. On the basis of medical documentation, the laboratory assistant sets up the tomography, selects the optimal location, time and type of MRI.
As soon as all preparations are completed, the laboratory assistant helps the patient sit on the pull-out table of the tomograph, explains the essence of the tomography, points to the signal button and leaves for the adjacent office. From this moment, the dialogue between the patient and the medical officer occurs through the button and the speakerphone. If you feel pain, burning, itching, excessive discomfort or want to stop the diagnosis for any other reason, press the signal button. The laboratory assistant must suspend the diagnosis, assess the patient's condition and remove unpleasant symptoms.
During the procedure, hold your breath 1 or 2 times for 20 seconds. All actions of the patient are supervised by a laboratory assistant. Listen carefully to the healthcare professional and follow his instructions clearly.
The abdominal scan technique is no different from MRI of any other part of the body. The tomograph looks like a massive ring with a pull-out table in the middle. On this table is the patient, and the scanning ring is placed just above the spleen. After starting the software and hardware complex, the ring begins to rotate quickly, making sections of the abdominal cavity.
The rotation of the ring is accompanied by a loud sound. Noise is absolutely normal and should not scare the patient. He is required to maintain a stationary position of the body, holding his breath several times at the request of the laboratory assistant. At the end of the scan, the medical officer releases the patient from the straps, helps to get up, asks about health and reports the time of receipt of the results. It usually takes 30-40 minutes to process the information.
Lab technician examines MRI scans and makes a preliminary diagnosis. For more accurate and reliable information, you should contact your doctor. He will compare the image with the results of previous diagnostics, history, individual characteristics of the patient. Do not try to decrypt scans yourself. Trust your doctor and clearly follow the therapeutic course.
What is the difference between MRI and CT
Both methods are used to diagnose pathologies of the spleen and other organs of the human body. The difference lies in the specifics of the operation of the equipment. A magnetic resonance imager studies the effect of a magnetic field on protons, and a computer tomograph captures the absorption of x-rays by tissues.
The need for a particular diagnosis is determined by the doctor. Always consult a doctor before a routine or routine checkup.
The informational content of CT and MRI is approximately at the same level. The main difference is the safety of the methods. Scientists believe that the magnetic field does not affect the functionality of the human body. The patient can perform MRI at least daily, without fear for health and possible side effects.
With CT, things are different. Absolutely all computed tomographs operate at reduced radiation exposure. The patient receives a minimum dose of radiation (compared to an x-ray), but radiation still tends to accumulate in the body. Because of this, CT and X-rays are not suitable for multiple diagnostics. A certain period of time must elapse between irradiation in order to avoid harmful effects.
Another difference between CT and MRI is the price. Magnetic resonance imaging is more expensive. In any case, both methods use the same demand in medical practice. The doctor prescribes a particular study based on the characteristics of the patient and his illness. You should also consider the list of indications and contraindications for tomography. For example, patients with tattoos based on metallized ink will have to choose a CT scan, but only magnetic resonance imaging is shown to babies. The main thing is to strictly follow the doctor’s instructions and refuse self-medication.