Being motionless

When you have an MRI scan, to get good images, you need to remain still for the duration of the scan. In this section, I will explain why this is necessary.

An MRI scanner can be considered to be a camera. After all, it takes pictures! However, the way an MRI scanner captures an image is very different to how a normal camera, such as the one on your phone does it. When you take a picture of a person with your phone, its camera can “see” all of the person at once. That is why a phone camera can get the whole image in one quick moment.

The MRI scanner is not able to take pictures that way. Instead, at a given moment it can only see a small portion of your body. It sees your body, one small bit at a time and it adds these small images together, to eventually create a whole image.

You can also think of the MRI scanner as a sophisticated portrait painter. When painting a portrait, the painter paints very small areas at a time, which is why, when posing for a painter one has to be still for a while. The MRI scanner is also like a painter as it paints the painting, one bit at a time.

If you move while the MRI is “painting”, the resultant image will be blurred. That is why you need to be as still as you can during the process.

MRI scanners make very detailed images that are useful for your doctor to guide your medical management. But quality images take time, so be patient with your MRI scanner!

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