What is gadolinium contrast?

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Gadolinium contrast refers to contrast mediums or agents that are used in MRI or magnetic resonance imaging. In the field of medicine, MRI’s are very important procedures as it scans the body of patients and produces three-dimensional images of internal organs and structures. Many patients are prescribed to undergo body scanning through MRI in order to detect which part of their bodies have abnormalities or are inflamed for example. With the help of contrast mediums such as Gadolinium, the MRI machine will be able to produce more vivid images of the body’s structure and internal organs.

Gadolinium is a rare metal that can only be found naturally in its combined salt form. When combined with other metals, Gadolinium is considered to be very powerful against oxidation especially when there is exposure to elevated temperatures. Most metals succumb easily to rusting and oxidation when there is too much heat exposure. With the help of Gadolinium, basic metals such as iron and chromium for example will be able to withstand very high temperatures. With this property, Gadolinium is considered to be highly toxic. Researchers have found a way though to have it bind with other metals through a process called chelation and make the metal suitable and safe for use as a contrast agent in imaging techniques like MRI. The ions of chelated Gadolinium are said to easily excrete by the body through the kidneys without leaving some toxic remnants to the body. Although there are some concerns with Gadolinium’s toxicity, it is still widely used as a contrast medium in MRI scans.

The basic function of contrast agents like Gadolinium is to provide improved clarity of the scanned body images. With better quality images, diagnostic accuracy will be much improved in the medical community. Through an intravenous injection, Gadolinium contrast will help make internal body structures more vivid and clear during the MRI scan.

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