Magnetic resonance imaging, otherwise known as a MRI, is the use of a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer to produce electronic images of specific atoms and molecular structures in solids, especially human cells, tissues, and organs. The image and resolution produced by MRI is quite detailed and candetect tiny changes of structures within the body. For some procedures, contrast agents such as gadolinium are used to increase the accuracy of the images.
An MRI scan can be used as an extremely accuratemethod of disease detection throughout the body. In the head,trauma to the brain can be seen as bleeding or swelling. Otherabnormalities often found include brain aneurysms, stroke, tumors of the brain, as well as tumors or inflammation of the spine.Neurosurgeons use an MRI scan not only in defining brain anatomybut in evaluating the integrity of the spinal cord after trauma.It is also used when considering problems associated with thevertebrae or intervertebral discs of the spine. An MRI scan canevaluate the structure of the heart and aorta, where it can detectaneurysms or tears. It provides valuable information on glandsand organs within the abdomen, and accurate information aboutthe structure of the joints, soft tissues, and bones of the body.Often, surgery can be deferred or more accurately directed afterknowing the results of an MRI scan.
An MRI scan is a painless radiology technique whichhas the advantage of avoiding x-ray radiation exposure. Thereare no known side effects of an MRI scan. The benefits of an MRIscan relate to its precise accuracy in detecting structural abnormalitiesof the body. Patients who have any metallic materials within thebody must notify their physician prior to the examination or informthe MRI staff. Metallic chips, materials, surgical clips, or foreignmaterial (artificial joints, metallic bone plates, or prosthetic devices, etc.) can significantlydistort the images obtained by the MRI scanner. Patients who haveheart pacemakers, metal implants, or metal chips or clips in oraround the eyeballs cannot be scanned with an MRI because of therisk that the magnet may move the metal in these areas. Similarly, patients with artificial heart valves, metallic ear implants, bullet fragments, and chemotherapy or insulin pumps should not have MRI scanning.
If you would like more information on this procedure contact us or speak with your Physcian.