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Traumatic Brain MRI

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Advanced MRI technology to detect and diagnose brain injuries due to physical trauma.

What is a traumatic brain injury MRI?

Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI, is typically caused by a sudden impact, internal damage, or a loss of oxygen to the brain. Although it’s not always visible, TBI can cause long-lasting physical, emotional, intellectual and social changes for people who experience head trauma. Long-term effects can also place an enormous emotional and financial burden on family members, due to the high costs of care and potentially life-long support needs.

We use the most advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) system available in Canada for clinical use. Our facility has the technology and expertise to distinguish true brain injuries and damage from migraine headaches, bodily pain, medications, depression, and stress-based dysfunction.

Advanced diagnosis methods

Our radiologists and technologist employ these advanced methods to diagnose mild to severe cases of traumatic brain injuries:

  • Susceptibility Weighted Imaging (SWI)

A method used to detect and differentiate micro-bleeds, hemorrhage, small iron/calcium deposits.

  • eDWI Diffusion Weighted imaging

A higher sensitivity and a faster scanning time than regular DWI for enhanced scanning of the Brain.

Why have a traumatic brain injury MRI?

TBI causes a wide variety of symptoms, depending on the severity of the trauma – from headaches, dizziness, nausea, light sensitivity and fatigue for mild injuries, through to seizures, loss of coordination, and profound confusion for moderate-to-severe injuries. That’s why it’s essential to seek prompt attention and an accurate diagnosis after a blow or other traumatic injury to the head.

Preparing for a traumatic brain injury MRI

Before we schedule the screening, please advise your patient care coordinator if you:

  • Have a cardiac pacemaker, cerebral aneurysm clips, metallic implants, or metal fragments in your eyes.

MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, so the system is highly sensitive to metal.

  • Have a contrast material allergy.

Although rare, the contrast material used in some MRI scans can cause an allergic reaction.

What to expect with a traumatic brain injury MRI

During your appointment, one of our expert technologists will escort you into the MRI scanning room, which contains a table and a large, circular device called a gantry. Your technologist will have you lie down comfortably on the padded table. You will be asked to stay very still and briefly hold your breath during the scan, in order to produce a clear diagnostic image.

Depending on the specific exam, a contrast solution may be administered by IV to improve the accuracy of the scan. During the scan, you might hear a humming or buzzing noise. This sound can be quite loud, but you won’t experience any other unusual sensations, with the exception of some slight table movement while the images are being taken. The technologist will monitor you through a window during the entire exam and can communicate with you by intercom.

After your MRI

Our fellowship trained sub-specialty radiologists will carefully analyze your MRI images and provide a report to your physician. Once he or she has received the report, your physician can discuss the results with you. Your technologist will also give you a CD, DVD or USB containing the scanned images when you leave our clinic.

Traumatic brain injury MRI FAQs

Is a traumatic brain injury MRI safe?

MRI is a safe and effective diagnostic procedure. Unlike an x-ray, it does not use ionizing radiation. You can undergo many MRI examinations without any cumulative effects.

MRI is an advanced diagnostic technology that can provide detailed images of the brain. An MRI scan can detect abnormalities that CT scans, ultrasound, and x-rays cannot. Our modern facilities are home to a GE 3.0 Tesla MRI system; Developed for the most advanced clinical applications, the 3.0T MRI produces faster images with unprecedented detail.

The 3.0T Signa EXCITE HDxt MRI system was designed with your safety and comfort in mind. Many older MRI systems use larger coils that make the unit feel confining, but the GE 3.0T MRI features more compact and advanced coils, which promote a more comfortable patient experience.

Is a concussion a traumatic brain injury?

Yes, the most common and least serious type of traumatic brain injury is called a concussion. However, concussions can range in severity. Most concussions are temporary with mild symptoms that go away in hours or days but more severe concussions can have long lasting effects. In particular, athletes or others who have sustained a severe concussion or multiple concussions can encounter especially severe symptoms that can last for months or years.

Is it possible to see the effects of traumatic brain injury 2 to 3 years after the accident?

Yes, the characteristic iron content will still be present in the brain even after 5 years. Only in rare cases will the iron be reabsorbed by your body.

Are micro bleeds unique to traumatic brain injury? Can something else, for example excessive drinking cause micro-bleeds?

Multiple micro-bleeds are generally not found in a healthy brain. It is possible to have 1 or 2 micro-bleeds from a minor accident, but any more, especially in the location where the accident occurred is indicative of TBI.

Symptoms of brain injury

  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Impaired memory
  • Faulty judgement
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Diminished libido
  • Difficulty switching between multiple tasks
  • Slowed thinking

Get a TBI MRI scan with Centric Health

Many men and women from across Canada and all over the world choose Centric Health Surgical Centres for traumatic brain MRI scans. In addition to our world-class technology, each and every one of our physicians, technologists and radiologists has years of experience and a commitment to excellence. Our modern facility and patient-centred philosophy will ensure you have a positive experience at every turn. Let us help you achieve optimal health and wellness in a professional, clinical setting.

Next steps: Book your TBI MRI scan

If you are ready to discuss your MRI scan needs, contact us to learn more.


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