Head and Brain MRI

The most advanced type of brain imaging


MRI scans are frequently used to evaluate the internal structures of the brain. Brain MRIs are not only used to discover tumors, infection and chronic diseases, but are also now increasingly used in acute settings to look for bleeds and stroke.

A brain/head MRI will evaluate: sinuses, orbits, internal auditory canals, pituitary gland, ventricles, brain matter



Conditions that benefit from this procedure:

  • look for the cause of headaches
  • help diagnose a stroke or blood vessel problems in the head. Problems with blood vessels may include an aneurysm or abnormal twisted blood vessels that are present at birth (this is called an arteriovenous [AV] malformation)
  • check blood flow to the brain or blood clots. MRI can show bleeding in or around the brain
  • check symptoms of a known or suspected head injury
  • check symptoms such as change in consciousness, confusion, or abnormal movements. These symptoms may be caused by brain diseases, such as Huntington's disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson's disease, or Alzheimer's disease
  • check for hydrocephalus
  • look for tumors, infections, an abscess, or conditions of the brain or brain stem, such as encephalitis or meningitis
  • check the eyes, the nerves from the eyes to the brain (optic nerves), the ears, and the nerves from the ears to the brain (auditory nerves)
  • look for problems of the pituitary gland
  • investigate or follow a finding seen on another test

Please remember to bring all related examinations with you to your appointment.


There is no need to alter your diet or medication prior to an MRI examination, except from the abdominal examinations (no eating or drinking for 2 hours prior to the examination). During the exam most metal items will need to be removed. Patients with metallic implants, pacemakers or metal clips must notify the technologist prior to examination. If you are having an MRI of the head, please do not wear eye makeup. In case you have a history of allergy or kidney disease, please inform your physician to obtain additional details of your preparation.
You will be asked to remove all of your clothes and change into a gown to avoid metallic objects being inadvertently taken into the scanner. The MRI technologist will help to position you on a movable table and will try to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible. The table will slide slowly into the center of the scanner. A two-way intercom allows you to communicate with the MRI technologist. You need to lie as still as possible during the scan otherwise the images may be blurry and the scan may need to be repeated.Some MRI examinations require an injection of a special intravenous contrast or dye (called Gadolinium). This can provide additional detail on the MRI pictures and is usually injected into a small vein in the elbow. If you experience symptoms of claustrophobia or are unable to lie flat comfortably, mild oral sedation can be administered during the examination, in order to relax. After your scan, you will need to remain under observation for some time in order to recover from the sedation and you will need to be accompanied by someone who can drive you home.MRI is usually avoided in the first trimester of pregnancy unless there are special circumstances. Please notify us if you are pregnant or if you think you may be pregnant.