What is MRI?
MRI is a non-invasive test that uses a magnetic field, radio waves and advanced computer software to produce clear, detailed images of the structure and function of internal organs and tissues. MRI gives doctors a window into the body unavailable with X-rays and other imaging technologies.
During an MRI, the patient lies still on a sliding table which is positioned inside the MRI. Imaging professionals are in an adjacent room but in constant contact via an intercom system. People with claustrophobia may need to obtain a sedative to help them relax. Most exams take 15 – 45 minutes, although highly detailed studies may take longer.
MRI is a critical diagnostic tool used to:
- Determine extent of brain injury brought about by trauma or stroke
- Locate internal bleeding
- Assess damage of the head and neck
- Evaluate the heart, aorta, coronary arteries and blood vessels
- Determine the condition of the lungs, liver, kidney, spleen, pancreas and abdomen
- Assess the spine after trauma or to diagnose chronic disease
- Evaluate sports injuries.
Since a MRI does not involve radiation, it is also used to examine the reproductive system, pelvis, hips and bladder.