How Long Does A Brain MRI Take?

The idea of getting an MRI scan might not be dangerous and risky. The reason for this is because people get scared at the idea of having to go through a machine which is going to make strange, robotic noises while you have to lie still. We know how this may depict the scenes of many horror movies and one would naturally want to opt out of it.

But, the decision to not get MRI scans can lead to horrible consequences. These consequences can be life-altering and might even cause death. Thus, what we gather here right now is that it is extremely important to be aware of the basics revolving around the scan. This scan can be helpful in diagnosing any further problems. The only way one can find a way to solve problems if they have a diagnosis in the first place.

What Is An MRI?

MRI which is short for magnetic resonance imaging is a medical procedure for the brain. It is a type of imaging technique that is used to curate and present pictures of the psychological processes and the anatomy of the brain. It is used in radiology and is an imaging technique of the medical world. To get the images of the brain, there are various things used in the process.

This includes the one main component MRI scanners. This scanner works with the help of strong and intense magnetic waves which are used to form images. Other than magnetic fields, radio waves and magnetic gradient fields are also a part of the process to get accurate pictures representing what’s going on psychologically and physically inside the brain.

These images can be seen on a computer screen. These MRI scans can be used for children and adults both. There is nothing in an MRI scan that would be harmful. For patients, it is a great piece of technology that can instantly gauge what’s going on in the brain and give proof of it in the form of images. The only problem is that a lot of times it is not very clear and professionals have to work their way around it.

What Does A Brain MRI Show?

In layman terms, an MRI is used to give professionals and doctors a lay of the land. It helps them in getting a look into the brain and seeing how it is functioning. An MRI doesn’t just show the physical aspects and changes in a brain but also gives a detailed view of the psychological changes taking place in the brain.

With the help of an MRI scan, doctors and professionals can be able to see the tissues, blood vessels, and joints and bones in your neck, head, and spine. Doctors are also able to get a look at your thyroid gland, orbits which are eye sockets, inner ears, and some parts of the mouth.

Doctors can use MRI scans to get a diagnosis of any disease that might be related to the brain. It is not just used for detection and diagnosis but also to keep an eye on the progress of any treatment that might be in the process. With MRI scans, doctors can have a way to monitor the results of the treatment. There is also the fMRI which is a functional MRI. This type of brain scan is used to get a map of the activity of the brain.

Why Would A Doctor Order An Mri Of The Brain?

Your doctor might ask you to get an MRI scan done for the following reasons:

  1. If you have been in an accident or are injured, an MRI scan will be asked for if the impact of the scan was on any part of the brain. This is because an MRI scan will be useful in detecting if there is any internal bleeding. Let his sort of bleeding slide can result in horrible consequences.
  2. If you have been experiencing a lot of dizziness, memory loss issues, or headaches then in order to identify the root of the problem your doctor might ask you to get an MRI scan done. It is important to keep in mind that these scans are not for regular headaches. You will only be asked to get one if the headaches aren’t getting better and are constant.
  3. Moreover, MRIs are also used a lot for patients who might be suffering from brain tumors, etc. With this scan, the doctors can come up with plans regarding the procedures involved in treating it.
  4. Sometimes individuals suffering from Parkinson’s disease, etc might have to get some sort of medical device placed in their brains. An MRI scan is used during the process of placing the device. The scan helps in getting an accurate placement.
  5. In the case when patients are undergoing treatments for their brain-related issues, MRI scans can help doctors keep an eye on the progress of the treatment and move ahead accordingly. Some doctors also ask their patients to get MRIs done if they want to see whether a disease has returned after treatment.
  6. Since it helps in getting a look at the psychological aspects of the brain, MRIs also help in diagnosing and detecting Alzheimer’s disease.
  7. MRI scans are also used when doctors want to know if they should opt to get a sample of the tissues in the brain or not. This sample can make further diagnosis and treatment easier and simpler.

How Long Does It Take To Get MRI Results Of The Brain?

An MRI can take as little as 15 minutes and can go as long as 90 minutes. One should always keep a margin of around 2 hours when they are about to go get their scans done. The time duration for an MRI scan totally depends on the area which is about to get scanned. If the area is larger then obviously it’s bound to take more than 15 minutes.

The usual time duration for MRI scans is around 45 minutes. During this time the scan of the brain is being done and side by side there are various pictures being taken of the images. These images will then be saved and can help in further monitoring.

Sometimes patients are asked to wait around a little so that the docs can check whether the images obtained are clear and are not. If they are not clear the first time around, you may have to go in again to get better images.

For all those asking, “how long is an MRI of the brain?” the typical time is 45 minutes but having a 2-hour margin is good just to be on the safe side. There are various actors that come into play when getting an idea of the time, such as the sequence and the contrast used for the process.

Does Your Whole Body Go In For A Brain MRI?

The part of the body that is supposed to be scanned will have to go inside the machine. Usually, for a brain MRI scan, the whole body has to go in the machine. The machine for an MRI scan will look like a tube that will be open on both ends.

For people who suffer from issues like claustrophobia, there are open MRI machines that do not have anything on the sides. They are open from the sides and will enable the patient to have more space.

For brain MRIs, you might be asked to get injected with contrasting agents but it completely depends upon the reason behind getting the scan. These contrasting agents light up when parts of the brain and are used to make diagnoses like that of cancer or inflammatory issues much easier to detect. Metals objects are supposed to be removed from the head area such as earrings, necklaces, nose rings, etc, are a no-no. These objects or any other metal devices can interfere with the process and leading to complications.


MRI scans are easy tests that require just patience from your side. These scans are not painful at all and can help the doctors and professionals reach diagnosis at a quicker pace. It is important to inform your doctor if you are pregnant, claustrophobic, or have trouble lying on your back still. They will provide you with solutions for such problems as medicines to calm down your nerves or something to help you sleep through the scan. For pregnant women, there might be other alternatives to the test or they would propose postponing it till after you’ve given birth.