Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive medical test that physicians use to diagnose medical conditions. MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and virtually all other internal body structures. Basically, it’s a big machine that sounds like an automatic Nerf gun and takes pictures of the brain.

Kiara’s scans are done every 3 months or as needed. They take two sets of scans: once without contrast and once with contrast. Neurosurgeons and oncologists use the different types of scans to look for different problems. Tumors show up with contrast. Flair shows up in the scans without contrast. The radiologist is the doctor that first looks over the scans and writes up a report. If there are any questions about the radiology report, the tumor board (consisting of neurosurgeons, oncologist, and others) will review it.

In some operating rooms they will also have an interoperable MRI (IMRI) machine that allows the neurosurgeon to scan the brain during surgery to locate and address any unresolved issues. Unfortunately the IMRI was broken on the day of Kiara’s first major resection, although the neurosurgeons say that it would not have affected the outcome.