Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI refers to a technique of medical imaging that is used in radiology in visualizing in details the structure of the organs in the body. MRI utilizes nuclear magnetic resonance property to image the nuclei of atoms that are in the body. A patient lies within a powerful and large magnet where a strong magnetic field generated by the magnet is used to align atomic nuclei magnetization in the body. Radio frequency magnetic fields are then applied in order to systematically alter the magnetic alignment. This results to the production of a rotating magnetic field by the nuclei that can be detected by the scanner. The information received by the scanner is recorded to make an image of the area of the body that was scanned (Shiel).
An MRI scan has various applications and has been used to scan for brain tumors, bleeding in the brain, as well as nerve injuries. A head MRI scan may also help to detect damages that result from stroke, problems with eyes or optic and auditory nerves. A chest scan may help to look at the valves, heart, and coronary blood vessels. A chest scan may also help in showing heart or lung damage, and lung and breast cancers. Scanning the blood vessels may help to look at the condition of the blood vessels, the way the blood is flowing and other conditions such as aneurysm. Scanning abdomen and pelvis may help in finding problems associated with organs such as the pancreas, gallbladder, liver, bladder, and kidneys. It may also help in finding tumors, blockage, infection and bleeding. MRI is also used in checking problems that affect joints and bones such as arthritis (Romito).
Advantages of MRI include being painless and non-invasive, does not use ionizing radiations, help in diagnosing a wide variety of conditions and may provide information that is similar to that of CT. Some of the disadvantages of MRI include the procedure being lengthy and noisy. Slight movement during the scanning may result in ruining of the image and thus may require retesting. The procedure may make some patients fell claustrophobic and require that young children and those who cannot remain still undergo sedation or anesthesia. The contrast medium, when used, may cause kidney problems or allergic situations (NPS).
NPS. Comparing different types of imaging. 2013. Online. 2 September 2013. <http://www.nps.org.au/medical-tests/medical-imaging/for-individuals/advantages-and-disadvantages>.
Romito, Kathleen. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). 2011. Online. 2 September 2013. <http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/magnetic-resonance-imaging-mri>.
Shiel, William C. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI Scan). 2013. Online. 2 September 2013. <http://www.medicinenet.com/mri_scan/article.htm>.