MRI of the sinuses

Every person throughout his life may encounter diseases of varying severity, which are sometimes not so easy to overcome. For this reason, it is important to monitor your health as closely as possible, paying attention to any changes in order to promptly contact a qualified doctor who will not only examine you, but also prescribe the necessary diagnostic examination.

MRI of the sinuses is a common high-precision diagnostic procedure that requires detailed consideration.

About the method

MRI of the sinuses is a diagnostic test that does not involve the use of ionizing radiation. The procedure is based on the nuclear magnetic resonance method.

Magnetic resonance imaging requires a special machine that creates a strong magnetic field and produces electromagnetic waves. Such excitations act on the nuclei of hydrogen atoms, which shift and give a magnetic response, which is read by the sensors of the apparatus for MRI of the paranasal sinuses.

MRI scanner

MRI of the sinuses: what does it show and how is it done? price

MRI of the sinuses: what does it show and when is it prescribed?

The study is quite informative and painless, although there is active debate about the advisability of its use, the choice of treatment protocols and its advantages over CT.

However, the capabilities of magnetic resonance imaging can hardly be overestimated, especially in comparison with X-ray diagnostic methods.

Indications for tomography of the nasopharynx and PPN

MRI of the nasopharynx, despite its safety, is prescribed only if there are indications, among which are:

  • the presence of pain for a long time;
  • the need to identify any pathological changes, signs of which were detected during other examinations, for example, during radiography, which is often uninformative;
  • the appearance of abnormal purulent discharge;
  • headaches, the cause of which is unclear;
  • damage to bone structures and nearby soft tissues;
  • presence of polyps;
  • presence of suspicion of sinusitis or the development of tumors in the nasal area.


Also, such an examination can be prescribed for sinusitis. Other pathologies and inflammatory diseases may also be a reason for ordering an examination. It is carried out to identify the extent of damage to the nasal sinuses and select the most suitable therapeutic method of treatment.

Indications for MRI of the sinuses

Indications for MRI of the sinuses
This type of diagnosis is prescribed, as a rule, in cases where it is not possible to identify the cause of the disease for quite a long time. These include:

  • systematic pain in the nasal sinuses, in which there are signs of a pathological course on x-rays;
  • periodic headaches for no apparent reason, which even painkillers do not always help relieve;
  • frequent nosebleeds;
  • copious nasal discharge, uncharacteristic of a cold;
  • any significant facial injuries;
  • a sharp decrease in the sense of smell, a drop in visual acuity;
  • systematic congestion of the nasal passages;
  • in the presence of symptoms of various diseases, which include polyposis, sinusitis, sinusitis, cyst proliferation.

Most often, specialists prescribe MRI for sinus cysts and sinusitis, and the procedure is performed on patients multiple times. In addition, MRI for cysts allows in many cases to avoid the need for surgical intervention if treatment is started in a timely manner.

Contraindications for MRI of the nose and paranasal sinuses

If there are contraindications, magnetic resonance imaging is never performed, since in this case it can negatively affect health. Main contraindications to MRI of the sinuses:

  1. The presence of any metal objects in the body, such as implants, permanent piercings or anything else. This can not only distort the images, but also harm the patient, because the metal becomes very hot under the influence of the magnetic field.
  2. The presence of electronic devices in the body, such as a pacemaker, as they may fail during the examination.
  3. Severe form of claustrophobia. In mild stages of the disease, the procedure can be performed while taking sedatives or using open-type equipment.
  4. Having tattoos made with paint containing metal.

During pregnancy

It is not allowed to examine the nasal sinuses with a magnetic device during pregnancy only in the first trimester, since at this stage the fetus is not yet formed. During pregnancy, magnetic resonance imaging is not prohibited, since the process does not use X-rays, which can accumulate in the body and cause cell mutations.

When is a magnetic resonance imaging scan of the sinuses prescribed?

Typically, MRI of the paranasal sinuses is prescribed in cases where all other examination methods have not yielded any results or the information obtained with their help needs clarification. The study is indicated if:

  • The patient has persistent headaches, the origin of which is unclear. If the results of the preliminary examination do not reveal pathology of the ENT organs, then it is advisable to conduct an MRI of the paranasal sinuses together with an examination of the brain.

A young man is worried about a headache
A man suffers from severe headaches

  • If there is a suspicion of a benign or malignant tumor in the sinuses, an MRI with contrast is performed. The study will show the exact boundaries of the tumor and its relationship with surrounding tissues. The type of contrast filling can suggest the nature of the tumor.
  • CT results revealed changes in the mucous membrane of the sinuses, but it was not possible to establish their nature. A magnetic resonance scan will show what exactly caused the shadowing of the sinus: a polyp, a cyst or fluid contents, and will help distinguish swelling of the mucous membrane from polypous growth.
  • With a persistent recurrent course of sinusitis or frontal sinusitis. Perhaps exacerbations are caused by a small polyp blocking the sinus anastomosis or an inconspicuous cyst of small diameter that was not detected by CT.

Preparation and limitations for MRI of the maxillary sinuses

MRI of the maxillary sinuses does not require any preparation. The same applies to any other paranasal sinuses. The specialist will not prohibit the patient from leading a normal lifestyle or stopping taking any medications before the scan.

You need to collect all documents related to the disease in advance and take them with you to the procedure if you have not provided them previously. To undergo such a diagnosis, a referral from the attending physician is required.

You will need to prepare immediately before the procedure itself. You will need to bring comfortable, metal-free clothing and remove all jewelry, piercings and other metal objects. Do not bring your cell phone or other electronic devices with you to the examination, or leave them with the doctor in the next office.

How is an MRI of the paranasal sinuses performed?

MRI of the sinuses is also performed as prescribed by a doctor. Diseases, symptoms, pain that may be the reason for prescribing this examination should be identified by a specialist, and not by the patient himself.

MRI of the paranasal sinuses begins with securing the patient's head on the tomograph table. This is done with the help of special belts and pillows, because even the slightest movements can affect the result, and the specialist simply will not notice in the results disorders that affect the brain, or a tumor in the paranasal sinuses.

MRI of the sinuses

Having fixed the patient's head, the doctor will retire to the next room, from where he will conduct the examination. There is no need to worry about this, because when performing an MRI of the paranasal sinuses, you can always inform the doctor about any problems via voice communication installed in each tomograph.

In order for the images to be as clear as possible, and for the doctor not to make a mistake with the diagnosis, it is important to follow all his recommendations during the examination process.

Duration of the study

In most cases, this procedure lasts 20-25 minutes, this time is enough to take pictures in various projections. If contrast is used, the diagnostic time can increase to 1 hour.

Using Contrast

A contrast agent makes it possible to visualize the cavities of the paranasal sinuses much better, but it is rarely used, since a procedure without contrast is sufficient to diagnose problems associated with this part of the body.

If your doctor advises you to use it to identify problems in the sinus mucosa, you should take into account the presence of additional contraindications and special preparation (you will need to come on an empty stomach). If tumors need to be examined, MRI with contrast is the best diagnostic procedure available.

Types of examination

Using such a tomograph, you can examine almost every part of the human body. MRI of the paranasal sinuses belongs to the category of brain examination. In addition to the paranasal cavity, the equipment can analyze the condition of the pituitary gland, orbit, as well as examine the vessels and the brain itself, cranial nerves, joints of the temple and lower jaw.

What does an MRI of the sinuses show?
MRI images allow you to evaluate the condition of the sinuses, brain and blood vessels

If the vessels or circulatory system are scanned, the procedure is called MRI angiography (venography). During such an examination, a contrast agent may be injected to improve the visibility of all beds and passages, determine the size, location and outline of tumors.

The equipment itself is used in 2 variations: closed and open type. The first option looks like a tunnel surrounded by a large magnetic ring. To get within the range of the tomograph, the patient must lie on a movable couch that slides into the ring. Such equipment terrifies some patients due to its closed design.

It is more comfortable to be examined in an open-type tomograph, because a person of any size can fit there. Patients who cannot be in a certain position or rotate parts of the body at the desired angle are sent here. Here you can scan a small patient without fear. In a closed type of device, a person must lie motionless, so an MRI of the child’s sinuses is not performed in this version.

MRI of the sinuses on an open tomograph
Open tomographs are more convenient to use

What does MRI of the nasal sinuses show, what pathologies and diseases can be detected

MRI of the paranasal sinuses can reveal:

  • various tumors;
  • osteomyelitis (damage to the nasal bones);
  • injuries of any kind;
  • sinusitis;
  • polyps and cysts;
  • inflammatory processes;
  • anomalies and developmental defects.

MRI image of the sinuses

Also, resonance sinusitis can be seen in the images, which makes it possible to identify this problem in a timely manner.

What are paranasal sinuses

The paranasal sinuses are bony cavities located around the nose. They are coated with a mucous membrane and play a very important role - humidifying and warming the inhaled air. There are 4 pairs of sinuses in the human body:

  • frontal sinuses;
  • maxillary (maxillary);
  • lattice;
  • basic.

During a visual examination by an ENT specialist, the nasal passages are first examined. If the specialist was unable to identify the cause of the pathological process, for example, when comparing complaints and the clinical picture, the presence of a cyst may be suspected, but the doctor still finds it difficult to make a diagnosis, then the patient will be referred to undergo radiography or magnetic resonance imaging.

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