Denpa News He brain is the most complex organ of the human body, because it connects all the systems of the body. That is why the study of the brain is carried out using the most high-tech diagnostic devices.
When to Examine the Brain
With the help of high-precision brain diagnostics, the doctor can diagnose or track the development of the disease. A neurologist, phlebologist and traumatologist can prescribe examinations of the brain or blood vessels due to the following complaints:
- headaches of an unclear nature;
- head injury;
- loss of sensation in the limbs, decreased vision, hearing and smell;
- lack of coordination, constant general weakness;
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If you suspect a stroke and diagnose tumors and epilepsy, studies are simply necessary – they can be used to detect neoplasms, blockages and ruptures of blood vessels, hematomas, foreign bodies and non-functioning areas of the brain. Since pathologies in different parts of the head can cause completely different symptoms, doctors very often prescribe brain tests.
Types of brain research
The most common and informative types of brain research are computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging. They allow you to get high-quality images of the brain in several projections, which helps in the diagnosis of any disease.
Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain
Absolutely safe method of examination , which has practically no contraindications. It is dangerous only for patients with pacemakers and metal implants in the body – the magnetic field of the tomograph can displace or heat metal objects and disrupt the operation of mechanisms.
On the resulting image, you can see dense and soft tissues, blood vessels and neoplasms. An MRI image is taken in several projections at the required depth, so the doctor can assess the state of any part of the brain.
Before the procedure, it is necessary to remove all metal objects and accessories. In order not to undress before the examination, you can simply put on clothes without zippers and metal buttons.
For the MRI, the patient lies on the couch. The technologist can give you headphones to protect against very loud sounds during the procedure. The patient is then placed inside the tomograph. It is necessary to remain still, as changing the position of the body will distort the image. The examination of the brain is usually carried out for no more than half an hour. At the request of the patient, if he feels uncomfortable, the procedure can be stopped or suspended without harm to the information content of the study.
Computed tomography of the brain
It works on the basis of X-rays, so it is not recommended for children, pregnant and lactating women. But for all other patients, it is absolutely safe.
After a CT scan, a 3D image of the brain . It is of the same quality as an MRI: it shows all the structures of the brain and blood vessels. Therefore, the choice between two types of tomography is based only on the existing contraindications.
Metal objects will also need to be removed: they are not dangerous, as in MRI, but they interfere with the passage of radiation. If this is not done, part of the image will be lost.
A significant advantage of computed tomography is that small changes in body position will not affect the result. The rest of the procedure differs little from an MRI. The patient on the couch is placed in the tomograph and observed during the procedure. The study lasts no more than 15-20 minutes and can be stopped at any time at the request of the patient.
A CT scan can be done using a contrast agent to get more detailed and clear pictures. To do this, first a routine examination is carried out, and then a dye is injected intravenously into the patient. After that, the procedure continues for several minutes.
Other types of research
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In addition to tomography, several more types of diagnostics are used to examine the brain:
Electroencephalography (EEG) records fluctuations in electrical impulses in the brain. Electrodes are attached to the patient’s head, through which the biocurrents of the brain are fixed and displayed on paper or screen. This study can help with mental retardation and speech development, epilepsy and trauma: thanks to it, inactive areas of the brain can be identified.
Craniography is an x-ray of the skull in two projections. Very weak radiation is used so as not to harm the patient. Such images will help determine congenital structural defects and injuries of the skull bones.
Neurosonography is an ultrasound examination of the brain in children from birth to the moment of fontanel closure. It is not as informative as tomography and x-rays, but is one of the few safe ways to examine newborns.
Electroneuromyography checks the passage of impulses along the nerves. To do this, electrodes are applied to the skin in the area of localization of the nerves, through which an electrical impulse is launched. According to the intensity of muscle contraction, the doctor will determine the performance of the nerves.
How is vascular testing done?
Angiography and ultrasound are used to examine the veins and arteries of the brain. Both options are safe, informative and have a minimum of contraindications.
Magnetic resonance angiography
Gives the best result in the study of small vessels and nerve trunks. During the examination, the doctor will take a picture of all the vessels in your brain. This will help diagnose micro-strokes and thromboses that are not visible on a conventional MRI image of the head. Often it is prescribed by surgeons after operations to control the condition.
MRA is performed in the same way as conventional magnetic resonance imaging, and has the same features and contraindications. Before the procedure, you need to remove all metal objects, and during the operation of the tomograph you can not move your head. Often, for correct diagnosis, angiography should be combined with MRI of the brain – this will allow a more detailed examination of the pathology area.
The conduction of CA of cerebral vessels is similar to computed tomography. As a result of the procedure, the doctor will receive a three-dimensional model of the vessels of the head. On the resulting image, one can consider anomalies in the structure of veins and arteries, atherosclerosis, narrowing of the lumen of blood vessels and neoplasms.
The doctor may prescribe this examination both for preparation for surgery and for control after treatment. In addition, this type of examination is an option for patients who, due to contraindications, cannot undergo MRA.
In CT angiography, a contrast agent can be used to better visualize damaged areas. Contraindications for the procedure are the same as for CT: pregnancy and childhood.
How is the study of the brain: angiography
An ultrasound probe is placed on the thinnest bones of the skull. Using ultrasound, you can find narrowing or thrombosis in the vessels of the brain, measure the speed of blood movement, detect aneurysms and areas with a changed direction of blood flow. The image is displayed on the monitor screen, and, if necessary, you can print the desired frame.
With the help of ultrasound, it is possible to examine both the vessels inside the skull and in the neck, if the blood flow in the brain was disturbed because of them. The method has no contraindications, it is absolutely safe for patients of any age. UD does not require additional preparation or examinations, however, before the procedure, it is better to refrain from taking foods and drugs that affect vascular tone.
What determines the choice of research?
The most common methods of brain research are MRI, CT and ultrasound. They are informative enough for the vast majority of possible diseases. If you do not know your diagnosis and want to come to the doctor with the tests ready, the best option would be an MRI or CT scan. They provide enough information on the state of both the brain itself and the bone tissues; large vessels can be distinguished on them.
For head injuries, craniography should be performed first. It will give sufficient information about the integrity of the skull, and if foreign bodies have not entered the brain, other types of diagnostics will not be needed. If the injury is more serious, with internal bleeding and brain damage, then you will definitely have a tomography.
If the doctor has prescribed you an examination of the vessels of the brain, then you should focus on your own contraindications, as well as the availability of research. Both tomography and ultrasound show equally good results.
The decision of the doctor remains the decisive factor in the selection of studies. Serious diagnosis is carried out only in the direction of the doctor. It is possible that he will prescribe you several procedures at once for a more complete examination and accurate diagnosis.