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Magnetic resonance angiography uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to create images of blood vessels throughout the body. It combines the use of strong magnets and radio waves to form an image that can be viewed on a video screen.
MRA may be used to:
Examine arteries in the neck, lungs, abdomen, pelvis, kidneys, or brain.
Look for an aneurysm (ballooning of the blood vessel wall) or dissection (tear in the vessel).
Detect damage to arteries because of injuries.
You may need to stop eating or drinking before the test. Each health care facility has its own guidelines on this. It also depends on the type of exam you are having. Ask your health care provider if you should stop eating or drinking before the test.
Ask your provider if you should stop taking any medicine before the test.
Follow your normal daily routine unless your provider tells you otherwise.
You’ll be asked to remove your watch, jewelry, hearing aids, credit cards, pens, pocket knives, eyeglasses, and other metal objects.
You may be asked to remove your makeup. Makeup may contain some metal.
Most MRI tests take 30 to 60 minutes. Depending on the type of MRI you are having, the test may take longer. Give yourself extra time to check in.
MRI uses strong magnets. Metal is affected by magnets and can distort the image. The magnet used in MRI can cause metal objects in your body to move. If you have a metal implant, you may not be able to have an MRI unless the implant is certified as MRI safe. People with these implants should not have an MRI:
Ear (cochlear) implants
Certain clips used for brain aneurysms
Certain metal coils put in blood vessels
Be sure to tell the radiologist or technologist if you:
Have any serious health problems. This includes kidney disease or a liver transplant. You may not be able to have the X-ray dye (contrast material) used for MRI.
Have had any previous surgeries
Have a pacemaker, surgical clips, metal plate or pins, an artificial joint, staples or screws, ear (cochlear) implants, or other implants
Wear a medicated adhesive patch
Have metal splinters in your body
Have implanted nerve stimulators or drug-infusion ports
Have tattoos or body piercings. Some tattoo inks contain metal.
Work with metal
Have braces. You must remove any dental work.
Have a bullet or other metal in your body
Also tell the radiologist or technologist if:
You are, or think you may be, pregnant
You tend to be afraid of small, enclosed spaces (claustrophobic)
You are allergic to contrast medium, iodine, shellfish, or any medicines
You wear a medicated adhesive patch
You may change into a hospital gown. An IV (intravenous) line may be set up.
You will lie down on a platform that slides into the MRI machine.
At times, the magnet may be within a few inches of your face. It is normal for the MRI machine to make loud knocking noises during some parts of the exam.
Several studies may be done. Contrast medium may be injected into a vein through an IV line for some of the studies.
If you were injected with contrast medium, drink plenty of fluids to help flush it from your system.
Your doctor will discuss the results with you when they are ready.
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