According to WebMD, an MRI of the brain is a painless, non-invasive test in which a magnetic field and radio wave energy are used to take pictures of the brain and nervous tissues. A patient lies with her head inside a scanner machine that contains a strong magnet while pictures are taken with a special device that can typically see things that are not visible on an X-ray or ultrasound.
An MRI of the brain is used to diagnose and monitor several disorders of the brain, including stroke, brain bleeding, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, brain infection and hormonal disorders, such as Cushing syndrome, according to the National Library of Medicine. An MRI can also help doctors determine the causes of speech impediments, vision problems, headaches, hearing loss and changes in behavior. To view blood vessels in the brain, a specialized type of MRI called magnetic resonance angiography, or MRA, is performed.
Healthline states that once the MRI brain scan is complete, a radiologist analyzes the images to look for abnormalities. Brain abnormalities may include aneurysms, fluid on the brain or congenital defects among other things, according to Johns Hopkins Medical Center. Once a condition is determined, a doctor can inform the patient and advise a recommended course of treatment.