About one in three MRI scans are requested by a referring physician that includes injection of a contrast agent.
Gadolinium contrast media are chemical substances used in some MRI scans. When injected into the body, gadolinium enhances and improves the diagnostic accuracy in some conditions, such as inflammatory and infectious diseases of the brain, spine, soft tissues and bones by making images clearer.
This allows a staff radiologist (a doctor who specializes in reading MRI scans) to more accurately diagnose any pathology to assist your doctor in your care.
Contrast media is given by intravenous injection under the guidance of a physician to ensure your safety at all times.
How Long Does a Gadolinium Contrast Medium Injection Take?
The injection takes between 10-30 seconds. Most patients do not notice any sensations, although a few patients will report a cold feeling in the arm or feel slightly flushed. These sensations pass within a few seconds of injection.
Is Injection Of Contrast Medium Safe?
Yes – with a few exceptions.
MRI contrast is not recommended for women who are pregnant or patients who have advanced kidney disease.
Please consult your referring physician to ensure that contrast media is necessary for your specific scan, and if recommended in consideration of your medical history. (We have an M.D. present for every patient scanned with contrast at Washington Open MRI to ensure that we have a qualified medical professional onsite to monitor contrast injection and answer any questions.)
Does Gadolinium Stay In My Body After Injection?
In patients with normal kidney function, most of the gadolinium contrast medium injected (over 90%) is passed out in the urine within 24 hours, and any residual is eventually excreted from the body.
Are There Different Types Of Gadolinium Contrast Agents?
The contrast agent Dotarem, manufactured by Gerbet, has a proven history of safety, minimal side effects, and with minimal retention of gadolinium in the body.
So, there is no reason to fear injection of contrast as long as proper precautions are taken.