Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Are there any health risks involved with having an MRI?"
My doctor wants me to get an MRI to look at an injury I have in my leg/hamstring. I've never had one before. Are they really safe? Are there any health risks with having an MRI?
An MRI, or a magnetic resonance imaging study, is an excellent form of taking a look at injuries to the muscles and bones, which is why your doctor is recommending that you get this study done. Most of the time, an MRI is an extremely safe and extremely well tolerated procedure. In fact, the most common side effect that people who have an MRI are likely to experience is just claustrophobia, as the test does require that you stay still inside a narrow space for a while as the test is performed! Unlike CT scans (computed tomography), MRIs do not involve any exposure to radiation (pictures are taken using strong magnets instead), so there is no potential risk of cancer or other adverse of effects of radiation down the road. There are some cases in which an MRI might be not possible or dangerous. In particular, if you have any metal in your body, this is something you mention to your doctor, as this might prohibit you from getting an MRI. Also, in some cases, it may be necessary to inject a dye agent for the MRI study, and some of these might not be safe if you have kidney problems or several other medical conditions - talk to your doctor about these issues!
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