MRI and MRA Contrast Studies
MRI and MRA exams are often performed with the aid of a contrast dye called Gadolinium. Some examples of those studies are Orbits MRI, Neck MRI, most GI MRIs, Kidney and Liver MRIs and many, many more. For most of these initial images are taken without the dye. The patient then receives an injection of Gadolinium which accumulates in abnormal tissues or flows through blood vessels and the images are taken again. When the dye is exposed to magnetic waves it creates a visible contrast. This allows radiologists and referring physicians to see the results with greater accuracy.
Gadolinium is a non-radioactive heavy metal and is expelled from the body through the kidneys. In patients with healthy kidneys the Gadolinium leaves the system within 4-6 hours. It is very important to drink plenty of water before and after the contrast injection. Staying well hydrated helps the technician get the needle in your vein painlessly. It also helps flush out the Gadolinium after the procedure is over.
Gadolinium is safer than other contrast dyes and in 99.9% of patients causes no reaction. However, all contrast studies are always performed with a board certified physician on site.
If you are unsure about any part of this please contact your referring doctor or your primary care physician.