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Thursday, June 1st, 2006

My First MRI – continued

*** This is Part 2. Part 1 is here ***

Phew. Had to take a break. I’m fascinated by all the technology involved with this, so it’s even harder than normal to contain my curiosity about every little facet, and I spend more time searching than writing. I did, however, manage to identify the raised platform with breast holes and the framework the techs were trying to strap on to me – they were RF coils. I was trying to elaborate, but the Wikipedia MRI page is like a huge black hole that keeps trying to suck me in, and I want to get back to the story. (There’s also a pretty good layman’s article at How Stuff Works, and an every-little-detail package at The Basics of MRI.)

So I was wedged into this tube, trying to stay relaxed, and the noises started.

An MRI doesn’t sound anything like somebody beating on a can. It was loud, but with the earplugs, not painfully so. What startled me was the nature of the sound – it clearly wasn’t mechanical. It had lots of buzzing and resonating thumping, and it wasn’t constant or even regular. There were frequent pauses before the next sequence of sounds started up, and each sequence had a different pattern, which caught me off guard each time. You can go off site to hear sample sounds – I haven’t found a good embedded player for WordPress yet. The noise is caused by the harmonics induced by the rapidly switching magnetic fields.

Although the magnetic fields inside an MRI are incredibly strong – thousands of times the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field – we supposedly aren’t capable of sensing them. But at times I felt something. Most often it was like a very faint sensation of having all the hairs on your body stand up at once – then start wiggling really fast. But I also felt weird, indescribable feelings of pulling and twitching throughout my body, and flashes of heat. It could have been entirely psychosomatic, I guess. Apparently, the only established effects of exposure to strong magnetic fields are vertigo and nausea. Prior to my scan, I had to go over a list of implants and other foreign materials that would be adversely affected by the strong fields, or that could have an adverse affect on me when they reacted by moving closer to the magnets. I didn’t see anything to worry about.


Posted by Greg in General Science, Melanoma, Posts About Me

1 Comment »

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 1st, 2006 at 00:08 PST and is filed under General Science, Melanoma, Posts About Me. You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “My First MRI – continued”

  1. nancy says:

    Hi Greg, I found your site by typin in MRI, and yours was the first to pop up. I am an MRI tech in Boston Mass. I think the info you shared on your “My First MRI” is great. The site you found Wikipedia MRI Page, is so informitive. I work at a Pediatric hospital and the ‘sample souonds” will be a great resource for our younger kids who are scared to listen to before we send them in.
    I’m sorry you have to have surgery again, but I wish you the best. It sticks to be sick but I think with all of our latest technology we/you are lucky. The PET Scan is unbelievable. The info the docs are able to obtain is superior.
    Again I wish you the best and I am thinking of you and your family.