Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
A Powerful and Versatile Imaging Tool
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is one of the most powerful tools physicians use to diagnose a variety of conditions throughout the body. Examples of the body parts that can be evaluated include the brain, spine, abdominal and pelvic organs, bones and joints, among others. MRI can help your physician make confident diagnoses or monitor your clinical condition over time.
How Does It Work?
MRI utilizes powerful magnetic fields and radio waves to generate detailed cross-sectional images of the human body. There is no x-ray, or ionizing radiation, involved. Regions of the body that MRI images particularly well are the brain, spine, muscles and joints, and internal organs.
MRI is non-invasive and painless. During the procedure, the patient lies comfortably on the scanner as the machine produces a thorough cross-sectional image on the computer.
Do I Need An MRI Scan?
An MRI scan can be performed to detect problems in different parts of the body. Your primary physician will refer you to an imaging specialist as a part of your treatment plan.
You may be asked to undergo a scan to assess the inside of your body if you have the following problems:
- Brain disease (e.g. stroke, tumors, etc.)
- Vascular disease (e.g. atherosclerosis, aneurysms)
- Spinal disease and arthritis
- Heart disease
- Breast cancer
- Bone and joint pain and/or injuries
- Liver, gallbladder, pancreatic, and biliary disease
- Lesions of the kidneys
- Disorders of the prostate, uterus, or ovaries
- Gastrointestinal disease, including colitis and other inflammatory bowel diseases
The Advantages of MRI
An MRI scan is the imaging study of choice for particular body parts, including the brain, spine, and joints. It can also be used as a problem solver for diagnosing disorders of the internal organs or the breasts. It may be utilized to clarify abnormal findings seen on other exams.
One of the major advantages of MRI is that it does not utilize ionizing (x-ray) radiation. It can be a safe alternative to CT imaging for certain conditions. MRI is also a painless procedure.