Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, is a truly revolutionary advancement in medicine. The science behind this valuable technology is rather complicated and represents the intersection of theoretical physics and its practical application to image the human body. MRI scanners do not use X-rays or any other form of radiation. Instead, they use very strong, rotating magnets to align the spins of the protons in the atoms within your body in a certain direction. Once the protons are all spinning along the same axis, the magnets switch polarity, altering the axis of your protons’ spins. The changing of spin direction gives off radio waves that can detected to render the position of those atoms in an image which our radiologist can read – we know, cool, right?
MRI is a diagnostic tool that allows radiologists to visualize tissues of the body that cannot be seen using conventional X-rays. The machine produces a series of cross-sectional pictures from different angles: front to back, top to bottom, side to side, and any orientation in between. In addition to the directional cross-sectional images, MRIs can distinguish specific kinds of tissue, like fat, muscle, and bone, and can detect abnormalities within them. MRI technology has advanced the field of diagnostic radiology and has radically changed the way we treat injuries and illnesses. MRI allows us to accurately and quickly detect disease and can help to optimize patient care.
Almost all areas of the body may undergo an MRI scan to improve diagnoses. MRIs are commonly used in the case of sports injuries to muscles and bones, but also crucial instruments for diagnosing brain and organ conditions. Our scanner can even look within blood vessels to diagnose vascular illness.
Because MRIs use intensely strong magnets to glean images, patients with any kind of metallic implant anywhere in their body should not have an MRI unless their physician is fully aware of the device and has approved the MRI procedure. Under no circumstances should a patient who has a pacemaker have an MRI.