The most complex organ of the human body is the brain, because it connects all systems of the body. For this reason, the study of the grain is done using the most high-tech diagnostic devices.
When to examine the brain
The doctor can diagnose or track the development of a disease using high-precision diagnosis of the brain. A neurologist, phlebologist and traumatologist may prescribe brain or vascular examinations when you have the following complaints:
- Headaches of unclear nature
- Head injuries
- Loss of sensitivity in the limbs, decreased vision, hearing and sense of smell
- Impaired coordination and constant general weakness
If there is suspicion of stroke, tumours and epilepsy, research is necessary because from it you can detect tumours, blockages, ruptures of blood vessels, hematomas, foreign bodies and non-functioning areas of the brain.
Types of brain research
The most common and informative types of brain research are computer and magnetic resonance imaging. They provide high quality brain images in several projections which helps in the diagnosis of any ailment.
Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain
This is an absolutely safe examination that almost has no contraindications. Patients with pacemakers and metal implants in the body are the only ones not allowed to undergo the procedure. This is because the magnetic field of the scanner can displace or heat the metal objects and disrupt their mechanisms.
The resulting image will show dense and soft tissues, blood vessels and tumours. The MRI scan is performed in several projections at the required depth to allow the doctor to analyse the condition of any part of the brain.
Before the procedure you are required to remove any metal object and accessories. To avoid undressing before the study you can simply wear clothes without zippers and metal buttons.
During an MRI, the patient lies on the couch and the lab technician can provide you with headphones to protect you against the loud sounds produced during the procedure. The patient is placed inside the CT scanner. It is advisable that you remain immobile because changing your body position might distort the image produced. Brain scans are usually carried out in about half an hour. If during the procedure the patient feels uncomfortable in any way, they should alert the technician so that the scanning is suspended immediately without harming the informativeness of the study.
Computer tomography of the brain
This procedure works on the basis of X-rays and therefore it is not recommended for children, pregnant and lactating women. However, it is safe for all other patients.
After a CT scan you will undergo a 3D snapshot of the brain. It is a high quality image just like the MRI as it shows all the structures of the bain and blood vessels. For this reason, the choice of the two types of tomography depend on the available contraception.
During this procedure, you will also be required to remove all metal objects. They are not necessarily dangerous but they may interfere with the passage of radiation and thus parts of the image may be lost.
Computed tomography is advantageous in that small changes in the position of the body do not affect the final image produced. The rest of the procedure is quite different from MRI. Here, the patient is placed on the couch in a CT scanner and monitored during the procedure. The study does not take more than 20 minutes and it can be stopped anytime upon the request of the patient.
The tomography can be done using a contrast agent so as to get a more detailed and clear image. To do this, the patient will first undergo a routine examination and then injected with intravenously with a dye. Afterwards, the procedure will continue for several minutes.
Other types of research
In addition to tomography, several other types of diagnostics are used for brain examination:
- Electroencephalography (EEG) – It records fluctuations in electrical impulses in the grain. Electrodes are attached to the patient’s head, through which electrodes are fixed and displayed on paper or screen of the brain biocurrents. This study is useful if the patient has delayed metal and speech development, epilepsy and trauma as it can identify inactive areas of the brain.
- Craniography — This is an X-ray of the skull in two projections. Very low radiation is used so that the patient is not harmed. The images produced will be used in identification of congenital structural defects and injuries in bones of the skull.
- Neurosonography – It is an ultrasound of the brain performed mainly in children, It is not as informative as tomography and X-rays but it is one of the safest ways to screen new born babies.
- Electroneromography – It checks the passage of pulses through the nerves. To do this, electrodes are applied to the skin in the region of nerve localisation and an electrical pulse will be produced. The intensity of the muscle contraction will help the doctor to determine how the nerves are functioning.
How is vascular examination done?
Angiography and ultrasound are used to examine the veins and arteries of the brain. Both methods are safe, informative and they have very few contraindications.
Magnetic Resonance Angiography
This examination provides the best results when it comes to the study of small vessels and nerve tanks. During the study the doctor will take a picture of all the vessels in the brain. This will help in the diagnosis of the microstrokes and thrombosis which cannot be seen on a normal MRI image of the head. It is often recommended by surgeons after undergoing operations so as to monitor the condition.
The MRA is done in the same way just like magnetic resonance imagine and it contains similar features and contraception. Before the procedure, you are required to remove all meta objects and when in the CT scanner you should not move your head. In order to get the correct diagnosis, angiography is often used in conjunction with MRI of the brain. Tis is because it will provide a more detailed examination of the region of pathology.
Computer angiography of the brain vessels is just like computed tomography. The results of the procedure are a 3D model of the vessels found in the head. It will be used to examine any anomalies of the structure of the veins and arteries, atherosclerosis, narrowing of vascular lumen and presence of tumours.
The doctor may prescribe this examination as a preparation for surgery and to monitor treatment. Moreover, this examination can be performed on patients who cannot undergo MRA.
A contrast substance can be used to have a better image of the damaged areas. The contraindications for the procedure are similar to those of CT: it should not be performed on pregnant women and children.
In this procedure, the ultrasound sensor is placed on the thinnest bones of the skull. This type of ultrasound can show narrowing or thrombosis in the vessels of the brain, measure the speed of blood flow, detect aneurysms and areas with a changed direction of blood flow. The image produced on the monitor screen can be printed to the desired frame size.
You will also be able to examine both the vessels inside he skull and the neck, if they disrupted flow of blood in the brain. This method has no contraindication and it is absolutely safe for people of all ages. UD does not require any additional training or examination, however, before the procedure, it is advisable to refrain from using products and medications that will affects the tone of blood vessels.
What does the choice of study depend on?
The most common type of brain studies are MRI, CT and ultrasound. They are informative enough for the vast majority of possible diseases of the brain. If you do not know the cause of the disease and you need to come to the doctor with ready test results, the best option is MRI or CT scan. They provide enough information on the condition of the brain and bone tissue and they are able to distinguish large vessels.
In case you have head injuries, the first examination that should be performed is the craniography. This is because it will provide sufficient information about the integrity of the skull and if there were no foreign bodies that entered the skull, other types of examinations will not be necessary. If the injury is much more serious with internal bleeding and brain damage, a CT scan will be needed.
If you have an appointment with the doctor on an examination of the vessels of the brain, you should focus on contraception as well as the availability of the research. Both tomography and ultrasound will equally provide useful results.
The most important factor to consider when choosing the type of examination is the decision of the doctor. Serious diagnosis are carried out following the doctor’s recommendations. There is a possibility that the doctor may prescribe several procedures so as to get a more complete examination and an accurate diagnosis.