What Is an MRI With Contrast?

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Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a highly powerful magnet and radio waves to take images of the body. Contrast or dye is used during an MRI to enhance the visibility of the final MRI images.

Why use contrast?

Typically the doctor will request an MRI with contrast if the candidate has a history of tumors, cancers or surgery, if he’s looking for inflammation or evaluating the blood vessels, or to further research something found on a pre-contrast MRI result.

Contrast material

MRIs with contrast use a chemical element named Gadolinium, which accumulates in the abnormal tissues of the body, providing a greater image contrast between abnormal and normal tissue.

Side Effects

Some common side effects of MRIs with contrast include dizziness, shortness of breath, allergic reaction and blood clots.

Injecting the Contrast

Normally a patient receives contrast after a normal MRI evaluation. The health-care provider injects 10 to 20mm of contrast solution into the patient’s vein.


Individuals with severe kidney disorders have experienced nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) and nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy (NFD). This disease causes fibrosis of the skin and connective tissue.

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