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How a Full-Body MRI Can Help You Take Control of Your Health

Key takeaways:

  • A full-body MRI is a low-risk, high-accuracy technology to screen for cancer and other diseases.
  • For best treatment options, it’s preferable to get early screenings before symptoms appear.

In the ever-evolving world of disease prevention, one thing remains the same: Early detection is key. Advanced medical imaging methods such as an Ezra Full Body help clinicians detect a disease at its earliest stages. 

A full-body MRI is an excellent first step in disease screening and prevention. But what does the procedure entail, and when should you get started?

What is an MRI?

An MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, is a diagnostic test that uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create detailed 3-D images of bodily structures and organs. Radiologists study these images to spot abnormalities in the body’s soft tissues.

Advances in MRI technology make it the preferred method of screening due to high diagnostic accuracy and low risk. A higher rate of accuracy means fewer false positives and greater peace of mind.

Unlike CT scans (computed tomography), X-rays, and PET scans (positron emission tomography), an MRI doesn’t expose your body to ionizing radiation. 

What organs are included in a full-body MRI screening?

The full-body scan is a whole-body MRI screening that includes images of 14 organs. Take a look at the different parts of your body an MRI can scan:

  • Brain
  • Spine
  • Thyroid
  • Lung
  • Liver
  • Gallbladder
  • Pancreas
  • Spleen
  • Kidney
  • Adrenal glands
  • Bladder
  • Ovaries
  • Uterus
  • Prostate

What can a full-body MRI help detect?

A full-body screening can detect lesions like cysts and tumors. It may point to soft tissue abnormalities like bleeding, swelling, infections, and inflammatory conditions. 

In the cardiovascular system, an MRI may offer insight into problems with the blood vessels like structural defects and aneurysms as well as hypertrophy, heart damage, and diffusion.

Doctors often recommended MRIs for cancer screening to individuals at high risk for breast cancer, prostate cancer, and certain types of lung cancers. 

A screening that uses advanced imaging modalities like MRI is more likely to find cancer in the early stages when it’s easier to treat. Studies show that this leads to reduced cancer death rates. 

Using an MRI, radiologists may be able to tell if an abnormality is or isn’t cancer. Using your MRI images, the radiologist can also detect signs of metastases, where cancer spreads to other areas of the body. MRI images can also help when planning follow-up procedures such as radiology studies, biopsy, surgery, and radiation therapy. 

Who should get a full-body MRI scan for cancer screening?

full body MRI: man smiling

Cancer screenings can help all adults take control of their healthcare. Since treatment is rigorous, experts agree that for routine cancer screening to be effective, it must start when you are “reasonably healthy.” 

Specifically, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends regular screenings for all adults who are at risk for lung cancer. They also advise:

  • Women should get screening for cancers of the breast, uterus, ovaries, colon, and rectum.
  • Men should get screening for cancers of the colon, rectum, and prostate.

Are there risks associated with an MRI?

MRIs are a non-invasive, safe, and painless test for most. However, if you have any implanted metal devices inside your body, proceed only if they are certified as MRI-safe

Notify your technician if you have any of the following:

  • Pacemakers and automatic implantable cardioverter-defibrillator
  • Cochlear implants
  • Neuro stimulators used for pain management and physical rehabilitation
  • Drug infusion pumps including insulin pumps
  • Intrauterine devices (IUDs)
  • Aneurysm clips
  • Some types of dental implants and dental appliances
  • Metal fragments in the eyes or body
  • Tattoos and permanent makeup

MRIs during pregnancy

While MRI during pregnancy isn’t forbidden, its purpose is much different than an ultrasound. During pregnancy, ultrasound testing is the standard for diagnosis, not MRI scans. A fetal ultrasound can help your healthcare provider best evaluate growth and development while monitoring your pregnancy. 

Talk to your obstetrician before scheduling your MRI. If upon your appointment, you suspect you might be pregnant, notify your technician.

Preparing for a whole-body MRI.

Follow these tips for a positive MRI experience:

  • The day of your test, take all medications as normal. 
  • Avoid drinking large amounts of water, coffee, or other liquid before your MRI. 
  • Because MRI scanners use a strong magnetic field, leave behind any metal objects and electronic devices like your watch, phone, jewelry, and glasses.

Ezra partner facilities use state-of-the-art technology and offer personal touches you can’t get anywhere else. To make sure you’re comfortable and relaxed, we offer pajamas and ear plugs, and we’ll even play a Spotify playlist you choose. 

What to expect during your MRI body scan.

Once in the exam room, you’ll be assisted onto the cushioned bed. Once you are settled in, the bed will slide into the scanner. It is more like a giant donut than the long dark tunnels of MRIs past. But if you are claustrophobic, please notify a technician before your scan. 

During the exam, you’ll be expected to lie still. You may be asked to take deep breaths or shift your position. You’ll hear noises similar to a drum beating throughout the scan. Unlike other full-body scans, the Ezra whole-body MRI only takes around 60 minutes

What happens after an Ezra Scan?

woman using her laptop

Your MRI results become part of your electronic health record, making it easy for your primary care practitioner to follow-up. You’ll also get a DVD copy of your MRI to keep for yourself or share with your doctor.

If you don’t have a regular doctor, don’t worry. About two weeks after your test, an Ezra doctor will follow up with you over the phone. If you do have a primary care doctor, talk with them about next steps if anything unusual appears on the MRI scan.

MRI scans empower preventative care.

When it comes to preventative care, you shouldn’t have to wait for a referral. Especially when you know that for certain types of cancer, screening can help find pre-cancerous changes so you can fight cancer before symptoms appear. 

Fortunately, MRI scans are available to book online, empowering you to take charge of your healthcare. Book an Ezra Scan today and mention “EZRA100” for $100 off your first full body scan.