Functional magnetic resonance imaging or functional MRI (fMRI) is a functional neuroimaging procedure using MRI technology that measures brain activity by detecting changes associated with blood flow. This technique relies on the fact that cerebral blood flow and neuronal activation are coupled.
No specific preparation is required. However as you are placed in a strong magnetic field, patients with pace makers, aneurysm clips or ferromagnetic metallic objects must advise the MRI staff when making your booking. Stainless steel / titanium orthopaedic prostheses are, however, not a contra-indication.
You will be required to lie on a table with your head placed in a brace-like support. The table will then move into a wide-bore tubular gantry, which is open at both ends. During the examination you will be in constant voice contact with the Radiographer. You will be asked to watch a video, or tap your fingers. The radiographer will ensure you have a clear understanding of all instructions. If sedation is used your pulse and oxygen saturation levels will be monitored with a pulse oximeter. This is a small clip attached to your finger. During the examination, a relatively loud knocking noise may be heard, but this is normal. You may experience vibrations during part of the studies. The examination is entirely painless and usually lasts between 15 and 30 minutes.
There are no post-procedure side effects and you may continue normal activity.