Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a technology that uses magnets, radio waves and a computer to produce images of internal organs and other structures. It is a test that doctors use to diagnose a plethora of health conditions. An MRI shouldn’t be confused with imaging that is produced via X-ray or CT scans (computed tomography). The X-Ray or CT scan exposes the patient to low doses radiation while an MRI does not.
An MRI can be used to produce images of any area in the body, but it is primarily used to examine the body’s soft tissues and nervous system. Your healthcare provider might also order an MRI if he or she suspects there are issues with the liver, kidneys, prostate, pancreas, ovaries, breasts, or prostate.
Types of MRI Exams
There are a variety of different MRIs available. The most common MRIs include:
- Functional MRI A functional MRI (FMR) tests brain activity. The images indicate whether there are issues present that may predict or diagnose a stroke. A doctor also orders an FMR for brain mapping. Brain mapping is essential for brain surgery or for detecting epilepsy or tumors.
- Cardiac MRI A cardiac MRI produces detailed images of the heart. Your doctor will call for a cardiac MRI to diagnose your condition so that a treatment plan can be devised. In addition to the heart, the blood vessels surrounding it are also examined. The information gathered is used to determine heart function.
- MRI of the Breast Patients who are at high risk for breast cancer are candidates for an MRI. While it is a non-invasive procedure, doctors may order an MRI-guided needle biopsy of the breast. The MRI will detect breast cancer and provide information on progression and location of the tumor.
- Magnetic Resonance Venography Magnetic Resonance Venography (MRV) is combined with contrast dye to produce clear images of internal organs and other structures inside the body. The dye highlights the veins, so that they appear translucent and show up well in images. Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) is similar to an MRV. It combines images with an intravenous contrast dye, but focuses on blood vessels instead of veins. The physician will be able to evaluate the blood vessels that run through the heart and soft tissues in the body.
- Non-Contrast MRA Some patients may be unable to tolerate contrast dye. This is especially true for patients who have renal problems. Historically, these patients could not get MRAs performed. However, it is now possible for all patients to get MRAs using advanced diagnostic technologies that eliminate the need for dye without compromising on clear images.
- Open, High-Field MRI Being closed-in is a fear that some patients have in regards to an MRI exam. Patients who are claustrophobic don’t like the design of an MRI machine that is enclosed. Other patients may be obese or suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome, preventing them from feeling comfortable in the machine. For these patients, open, high-field MRIs are a better choice.
Imaging Services in Palm Beach County, Florida
Independent Imaging offers a variety of imaging services to help physicians in all specializations see what’s going on in your body. If you need to get imaging tests done, consider seeing the experts at Independent Imaging. For more information or to request an appointment at a location near you, call (561) 795-5558. You can also request an appointment online.