A Brief Overview of MRI

Posted by auntminniecme on July 23rd, 2019

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive diagnostic procedure that shows the anatomical and physiological mechanisms of the body. It uses a machine that generates magnetic waves to create a detailed model of the subject's tissues and organs.

The equipment used in this test is called an MRI scanner. It has a doughnut-shaped frame that houses its most vital components: magnets. These produce a magnetic field that aligns a subject's hydrogen atoms, emitting a faint signal that's used to create a cross-sectional image of the target area.

As the application of this imaging technique evolves over the years, healthcare practitioners stay updated through the continuous medical study of radiology. Learn more about how this technology is used.


The patient will inform their doctor about their family history, underlying conditions, medications taken, and any metallic fragment they have inside their bodies such as pacemakers or implants. Tattoos should also be checked for metal content. Once done, the physician provides dietary and medication instructions.

Before the procedure, the subject will be asked to change into a gown and put away electronic gadgets, dentures, hearing aids, watches, and other items that may affect the imaging process. They may also be asked to ingest a special dye.  


An MRI is used to scan the body for abnormalities. Some areas that are targeted, as well as conditions monitored, include:

  • Brain and spinal cord: aneurysm, spinal cord injury, tumors, stroke, and multiple sclerosis
  • Heart and blood vessels: heart enlargement and blocked arteries
  • Other internal organs: pancreatitis, liver sclerosis, and kidney stones
  • Bones and joints: tumor and bone infection

Complications and Alternatives

An MRI doesn't have any adverse effects on the body. However, pregnant women and people with allergies or kidney problems can't undergo one if a dye contrast is required since it can have negative implications. It's also not advisable for people with claustrophobia since they may have a panic attack while inside of the machine.

When a subject can't proceed with an MRI, other diagnostic methods such as CT scan, fluoroscopy, and X-ray are typically used as an alternative. The technique to be followed depends on what the physician would like to achieve with the test they're conducting.

The MRI machine has helped save many lives. With continuing education in the field of radiology, practitioners can consistently identify and treat different illnesses.

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