MRI Reports Decoded

When your doctor schedules you for an open MRI in Jersey, a report of the test’s findings is generated after the scan is completed. If you receive a copy of this report, chances are it won’t make much sense due to all the medical jargon used. Because of this, your doctor will schedule an appointment to speak with you about the results. However, understanding some of the following common medical terms will help you understand your report so you can ask your doctor specific questions about your results.

  • MRIs obtain images inside the body in slices. These slices can be taken in any direction and are usually just millimeters thick. An axial image is a slice taken from the top of the body going down, similar to the way a cake is sliced.
  • Coronal slices look at the body part or organ, such as the brain, “face first,” much like the way a loaf of bread is sliced.
  • These slices are taken from the side. The sagittal plane divides the body into left and right halves.
  • This sometimes occurs when an MRI is performed with contrast. This means a contrast agent, such as gadolinium, is injected into your body. That contrast agent will then enhance the MRI’s ability to see certain types of lesions if they are present. One example if this is multiple sclerosis lesions, which enhance when exposed to contrast.
  • Hyper- or hypointensity. MRI images are shown in pixels ranging in color from black to gray to white. Lighter colors are considered to be more intense while darker colors are less intense. If an area is lighter than expected, it is showing hyperintensity. If it is darker than expected, it is showing hypointensity.
  • Magnetic resonance angiograms (MRAs) are a type of MRI focusing on the vessels of the brain. MRAs are usually done if there is concern about stroke or other forms of vascular disease.
  • An artifact is a distortion of the MRI image and can be caused by movement, scanner problems or the presence of metal. There are over 60 different types of artifacts that can obscure an MRI image and interpretation.
  • T1- and T2-weighted images. These techniques highlight different parts of the scan, depending on what your doctor is looking for.

Understanding these basic terms will go a long way toward helping you understand your MRI report.

MRI Reports Decoded

by Brent Kern
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