MRI of the head has a broad indication. The alternative modality of CT is the primary mechanism to assess the brain in the acute situation (such as in suspected stroke or head trauma). CT is particularly good at demonstrating haemorrhage but loses sensitivity and specificity for other conditions. However, MRI is the better test in the non-acute scenario.
MRI of the head is routinely employed to assess for causes of seizure or other unexplained neurological complaints. It is also useful as a modality to follow-up diagnosed conditions which may progress, such as demyelinating diseases (multiple sclerosis), tumours and other inflammatory conditions.
MRI can also assess the orbits in great detail, and is excellent at assessing for optic neuritis, masses, thyroid eye disease and other inflammatory conditions.
MRI of the head is also used to assess for potential inner ear problems such as vertigo and nystagmus.
It is a commonly requested examination for evaluating the neck region. This could be used to investigate suspicious superficial or subcutaneous lumps or deeper structures such as the base of the tongue, the pharynx and the larynx.
- Headaches associated with head and neck trauma; new, worse, or abrupt-onset headache; thunderclap headache; headache radiating to the neck; persistent positional headache; and temporal headache in older individuals.
- Pregnant patients, immunocompromised individuals, cancer patients, and patients with papilledema or systemic illnesses, including hypercoagulable disorders.
- MRI is fully covered by Aviva, GLO, GMA and ESB (majority of plans covered)
- VHI cover with consultant referral only