A functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) scan is used to identify the brain areas in which activity responsible for various functions occurs, and to evaluate their intactness, e.g., to identify the areas responsible for motion, we will ask the patient to move their hands and feet.
The fMRI scan is performed using an MRI scanner, based on magnetic resonance, and does not include the use of ionizing radiation. Unlike regular MRI scans examining the brain’s structure, the fMRI scan examines its function and searches for areas involved in certain activities. The scan is not painful and does not involve the injection of a contrast agent. Some discomfort may be entailed due to extended lying down position and the loud noises made by the magnet.
There isn’t a single, standard fMRI scan. The scan has to be matched to every subject. It has to be planned according to the functions needed to be evaluated, or the area to be operated. Therefore, often before the test an appointment should be made with the fMRI clinic via the neurological clinic so that we may match the scan to your medical needs and abilities. The preliminary appointment is especially important for special populations, such as children, for them the scan must be fitted. There are versions in various languages, so we must be informed if it is better to have the testing in a language other than Hebrew. The fMRI scan is performed at any age, as long as the subject can cooperate and lie down without moving for about an hour.
The success of the scan depends on your cooperation. During the functional part of the scan you will be required to perform various tasks intended to activate various brain functions, e.g., to identify areas responsible for motion, we will ask you to move your hands and feet, to identify areas responsible for vision, we will show you images and other visual stimuli, and to activate the system involved in processing and creating language, we will required you to think of words and sentences. Before entering the MRI scanner, we will explain the different tasks that you will be required to perform to you, and it is important that you preform them and report to us any problem during scanning.
The scan takes between 40 minutes to an hour and a half. In addition to the functional tests, we will also perform structural scans. Throughout the exam we have eye contact with you and we will talk to you and remind you what you need to do next.
Like in other MRI scans, it is very important to move as little as possible throughout the scan. Movement disrupts the results and our ability to infer reliable conclusions.
It is important to be alert for the scan, prepared for a long stay inside the scanner. If you have contact lenses, bring them with you to the scan. It is necessary to bring a medical note from your medical aid (test code LO554) or payment.
The processing of results is complex and may take several days. After processing is complete we will pass the results on to the attending physician. If needed, we will gladly meet with you to explain the results and talk over their meaning.