Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) takes advantage of the body’s own natural magnetic field to recreate complex and detailed images of the organs in the body. When a patient is placed inside the MRI scanner and the magnets begin to move around, it causes the body’s natural hydrogen protons to align according to the magnetic field. The body is full of hydrogen due to its abundance in fat and water.
Under normal circumstances, each of these cells spin randomly; but once inside the MRI machine, all of the protons align themselves along the same axis. This uniformity creates a magnetic vector aligned with the axis of the MRI scanner.
Magnets and Radio Waves Rather than Radiation
During an MRI scan, radio waves are added to the magnetic field. This causes a deflection that makes the hydrogen nuclei resonate (the “resonance” part of the MRI technology).
The magnetic field can be altered in small increments, causing the magnets to create different “slices” of pictures of the patient’s body. This will resonate at various frequencies.
Multiple radiofrequency pulses can be used in particular sequences to analyze a body part by switching the wavefield off and back on, then off again. Different tissues have different frequencies and can be isolated or filtered out.
By filtering out the frequency of fat, it leaves only the organs – and so any abnormalities are clearly visible. Most diseases have an increase in water content that can be clearly shown and viewable once the fat frequencies are filtered out.
That is the reason it starts up and stops: to change frequencies and allow the body’s proton field to return to its normal alignment. The machine makes very odd and sometimes loud noises during the scan, and this is normal.
Benefits of MRI Over Other Scans
In magnetic resonance imaging, there is zero radiation. In fact, there are no known biological hazards associated with an MRI scan – meaning that it will not trigger cancer cells, because it harnesses the body’s natural magnetic fields.
The sole potential hazard for people getting an MRI is the fact that the magnets are exceptionally strong. Persons with pacemakers, metal clips, and certain metal valves in their body could suffer partial movement of these internal devices from the strength of the magnetic field; MRIs can affect the function of the pacemaker.
Artificial joints are less of an issue, but any technician should always ask the patient about any implanted metal they may have in their body. Metal dental fillings are not a concern in an MRI scan.
Common Uses for MRIs
MRI testing is particularly useful for evaluating organs in the chest, abdomen, pelvic region, and the brain and blood vessels. This type of scan is used to find or verify a doctor’s diagnosis by revealing tumors, certain diseases like cirrhosis, a fetal exam, and much more.
Imaging Center in Palm Beach County
If you have need of an imaging scan, regardless of what it is, our medical team at Independent Imaging can perform it. Our board-certified and fellowship-trained radiologists are medical doctors who specialize in imaging, and they will provide an analysis of your MRI or other scan for your physician to use when making a diagnosis or health recommendation.
You may contact us by calling (561) 795-5558 or request an appointment online now. We look forward to seeing you here.