Tag Archives: Magnetic resonance imaging

Big Week Next Week

So after a period of relative quiet, next week is a big week for Fiona. Monday she is having an MRI and Wednesday she will receive her first hearing aids.


I think most everyone knows what an MRI is: it provides a more detailed picture inside the body then is otherwise possible through X-Rays alone. For example:

Sample MRI Image

Sample MRI Image

Many of us may have even had one, myself included. What I didn’t know, however, was exactly how they work – it’s pretty amazing.

There’s a good article on one of my favorite sites HowStuffWorks about this, but its pretty long and technical. Here’s my vastly oversimplified explanation:

  • The body is made up mostly of water, water contains hydrogen, hydrogen has protons.
  • Magnetic fields from the machine align those protons in the direction of the field. A small number of those protons do not align.
  • Those protons that do not align are hit with a specific radio frequency wave that causes them to absorb energy.
  • When the wave is turned off, those protons emit that energy. That energy is then absorbed by “coils” in the machine that feed data into a computer.
  • The computer runs complex math to map that data into a picture like you see above.

Pretty magical stuff. Go Science!

Here’s a good infographic from the How Stuff Works article:

Steps of an MRI

Steps of an MRI

If you’ve ever seen a MRI machine, its pretty intimidating and claustrophobic:


Because Fiona is an infant, she will need to be sedated with general anesthesia for the procedure. As a parent, this will doubtless be tough to watch, but is surely better than a baby screaming her head off inside a big scary machine.

From this procedure we are hoping to get our first insight into the cause of her hearing loss, and more importantly her candidacy for Cochlear Implants (see my earlier post about Auditory Brainstem Implants). While it is not guaranteed we will have all the answers on Monday, we do expect to learn more of the puzzle.

Hearing Aids

On Wednesday Fiona gets fitted with her hearing aids. While we are not expecting any significant response from the aids, the audiologist advised us to bring a camcorder “just in case”.

Personally we don’t expect to see a response like we’ve seen from the CI and ABI videos in earlier posts, but it is possible Fiona will hear SOME new sounds for the first time. We’re keeping our expectations in check, but nevertheless I will keep the camera rolling “just in case”.

Stay tuned.