MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, is a radiological study that uses strong magnets and radio waves. MRI scans are performed by radiology technicians and the detailed scans produced are interpreted by radiologists. Receiving an MRI scan is painless.
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For an MRI of the sinuses, the patient lies down on a table on their back and the table slides into the MRI machine. The patient will be asked to remain very still.
A radiology technician performs MRIs, and the films from the study are read by the radiologist.
CTs (computed tomography) are usually more valuable than MRIs for diagnosing most sinus diseases. However, if a physician is looking for certain conditions or diseases, MRI can be the best diagnostic choice.
An MRI of the sinuses may be requested by a physician if the patient has abnormal nasal drainage, repeated bloody noses, loss of smell or injury to the sinus area. If an earlier x-ray or CT showed abnormal findings, or if the patient has chronic nasal airway blockage and pain, an MRI may be ordered for further study.
MRIs of the sinus are helpful in diagnosing or ruling out fungal infections of the sinuses and involvement of soft tissues. Inflamed sinuses, malignant tumours and complications inside the skull are other reasons a doctor might order an MRI of the sinuses.
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