Issue 39 October 2021 - Journal - Page 32
Does an MRI Help in
Detecting Brain Tumors?
Dr Nader Khandanpour is a radiology consultant,subspecialising in
neuroradiology, based at St George's University Hospital, London.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging, commonly referred to
as MRI, is a fairly common test that is used to diagnose a variety of health conditions. Doctors will most
likely suggest an MRI when they need to analyse one
or more parts of your body including the brain, chest,
lungs, and spinal cord among others. Doctors often
turn to an MRI test when an X-ray, CT scan or even
an ultrasound is unable to provide clear images.
Role of MRI in Detecting Brain Tumours
MRI plays an important role in case of diagnosis of serious medical conditions like brain tumours. In case
of brain tumors, the following types of MRIs may be
• Intravenous Gadolinium Enhanced MRI
• Functional MRI
There are different kinds of MRI scans that each
serves a different purpose like detecting tumours, understanding how much blood is reaching the tumour,
studying the cellular structure of the brain etc. They
help doctors in preparing treatment programs, planning for surgeries and analysing the effectiveness of
treatment given. Your doctor will recommend a suitable MRI test based on your medical case.
An MRI is heavily relied upon when it comes to
diagnosing conditions related to the brain; it is used
to study the condition of the brain or to even identify
the underlying causes of dizziness, headaches and
In case of serious health issues, like brain tumours,
MRI is one of the best available methods of diagnosis.
A brain tumour, if it exists, will most likely, always
show up in an MRI scan. It is a very specific and
reliable report that allows your doctor to analyse the
tumour and make a treatment plan accordingly.
Dr Nader Khandanpour
MD, PhD, FRCR, CUBS, EDINR
Consultant Neuroradiologist & Honorary
What exactly is the science behind an MRI?
An MRI might seem like a complex procedure and
some patients get nervous at the thought of undergoing an MRI. If one tries to understand the procedure and the simple, yet enamouring, science behind
it, it will make things easier and quicker.
Dr Ian Starke
Consultant Physician in
Stroke Medicine and Geriatric Medicine
MSc, MD, FRCP.
During an MRI, the patient is asked to lie inside a
huge, strong magnet. This magnet produces a very
strong magnetic field which makes the protons in the
body react and quickly align with the magnetic field.
A radiofrequency current is released which stimulates
the protons; when it is switched off, the protons again
realign with the magnetic field. The energy released
by these protons along with the time it takes for them
to realign with the magnetic field depends on several
factors in the body including the chemical composition of the molecules. It is these magnetic properties
that are analysed by a doctor to draw a conclusion
and diagnose the patient’s health problem.
Dr Starke has been a practising Consultant Physician in Stroke
Medicine, Geriatric Medicine and General Medicine at University
Hospital, Lewisham and Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’ School
of Medicine since 1988.
Dr Starke provides expert reports for clinical negligence and
medical injury cases in stroke medicine and geriatric medicine
and on fitness to practise.
He has provided expert examinations and reports for
immigration and HM prison services. He is able to assess
clients within or outside London.
Contact: University Hospital Lewisham
Lewisham High Street, London SE13 6LH
Tel: 0208 333 3379 Fax: 0208 333 3381
Often, during or before an MRI, an intravenous dose
of contrast might be given to a patient. It is basically
a special dye called a contrast medium that increases
the speed at which the protons react and align with
the field. It is preferred by radiologists since the speed
of the protons determines the brightness of the image
produced – if energy particles align faster, the image
will be brighter.
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