What is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)?
Magnetic resonance imaging is a method used by physicians to look inside the human body and obtain anatomical and functional diagnostic information. Magnetic resonance imaging is also known as MRI
How does MRI differ from other diagnostic procedures like conventional x-ray, CT scanning or nuclear medicine studies?
All diagnostic imaging procedures provide information about the form and/or function of the body. MR images typically contain greater information about the body's soft tissue than other procedures. This means that MRI can provide highly detailed anatomical images of the body. Additionally, the trained medical professionals responsible for aquiring MRI can easily produce MR images with varying contrast, showing many different planes of the body with functional information such as blood flow.
How else is MRI different from other diagnostic procedures?
In contrast to x-ray, CT scanning and nuclear medicine, MRI provides diagnostic information without the use of radiation or radioactive substances. MRI is a non-invasive, and there are no known side or after effects.
How does MRI work?
MRI uses a computer and the physical properties of magnetic fields and radio waves to generate images of the soft tissues within the body. MRI signals from the body are generated using a safe magnetic field in combination with radio waves of a specific frequency. The MRI signals are detected and converted to a form which the computer can understand. The computer processes MRI signals from the body to form MR images. Different tissue characteristics are revealed through this process and thereby translated into different contrast levels on the MR images. The trained physician can view the MR images and form a clinical diagnosis.