Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRI) is a diagnostic procedure used to look inside the body for tumors or other abnormalities. MRI scans are performed using powerful magnets which create images of internal organs and structures. An MRI scanner uses radio waves to produce 3D pictures of your body’s structure. A CT Scan, on the other hand, uses X rays to show detailed images of soft tissues such as bones, arteries and veins.
The technology was originally developed to aid surgeons during operations. Today, it is widely used in medicine for diagnosing conditions like cancer, heart disease and strokes.
However, there are some situations where MRI scans may not be enough. For example, if you have a tumor that cannot be seen with standard imaging techniques or if your symptoms do not fit into any of the existing categories of medical problems. In these cases, an MRI scan may still provide valuable information about your health condition.
An MRI scan is usually done under general anesthesia, but sometimes they are performed without sedation. During an MRI scan, a magnet called a strong magnetic field is applied to the patient’s head.
This causes small electric currents within the tissue being scanned. These currents cause changes in how molecules move through the tissue and thus affect its structure and function. By looking at how different parts of your body react to this current flow, scientists can get an idea of what is going on inside your body. These reactions are then mapped to give us a detailed picture of what is going on inside your body.
The most common MRI Scan procedure is called Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). During an MRI scan, you will lie on a narrow bed inside a long tunnel-like machine.
You will be asked to remain still while the scan is performed and you may be given earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to wear during the test. Most MRI scans take between 10 and 90 minutes.
The type of scan you have will depend on what your doctor wants to look for. If they want to look at the bones or skeleton (such as in broken bones), they will use a technique called Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI.
If they want to see the blood vessels (such as when a person is suspected of having a hemorrhage), they will use a procedure called Magnetic Resonance Angiography, or MRA. If they want to look at the soft tissues of the body (such as in a tumor), they will use a procedure called Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, or MRS. Other procedures, such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the brain, or MRI, can be used for different purposes.
MRI scans can be used to identify a number of conditions, including tumors, cysts, and infections. They can also be used to identify problems in the central nervous system, such as degenerative disk disease, spinal stenosis, and other conditions that can lead to paralysis.
The scans can also be used to assess blood flow to the brain and the rate of brain activity in different parts of the brain. They can also be used to assess spinal cord injuries and other trauma to the spine.
What are the types of MRI Scans?
There are several different types of MRI scans. The type of scan that you have will be determined by what your doctor wants to look at. Some of the more common types of scans include:
Brain MRI: This is used to examine the brain and the tissues inside the brain, such as tumors, strokes, blood clots, cysts, inflammation, infection, or other problems inside the brain.
Spine MRI: This is used to examine the structures of the spine, such as compressed or damaged disks, bone spurs, degenerative disease of the bones or joints of the spine, and other problems inside the spine.
Spinal Cord MRI: This is used to examine the spinal cord and the nerves branching off of it for any damage, compression, or other problems affecting their ability to send messages to and from the brain.
Musculoskeletal MRI: This is used to examine muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other tissues that attach to bones. It can be used to help identify problems that cause pain or weakness in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments, such as inflammation or autoimmune diseases.
What Happens During an MRI Scan?
During an MRI scan, you will lie down on a table that slides into a narrow tunnel-like machine. This machine uses a powerful magnetic field to produce detailed images of your body. The table you lie on will be surrounded by a large donut-shaped magnet. An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) will be sent through the center of the magnet to orientate the water molecules in your body. These water molecules will then realign themselves along the magnetic lines of force.
Once the scan is complete, the magnetic field will be adjusted to measure different aspects of your tissue.
Sources & references used in this article:
Magnetic resonance angiography. by CL Dumoulin, HR Hart Jr – Radiology, 1986 – pubs.rsna.org
Coronary magnetic resonance angiography for the detection of coronary stenoses by WY Kim, PG Danias, M Stuber, SD Flamm… – … England Journal of …, 2001 – Mass Medical Soc
Diagnosis of pulmonary embolism with magnetic resonance angiography by JFM Meaney, JG Weg, TL Chenevert… – … England Journal of …, 1997 – Mass Medical Soc
Comparison of magnetic resonance angiography, conventional angiography, and duplex scanning. by TS Riles, EM Eidelman, AW Litt, RS Pinto, F Oldford… – Stroke, 1992 – Am Heart Assoc
Double-oblique free-breathing high resolution three-dimensional coronary magnetic resonance angiography by M Stuber, RM Botnar, PG Danias… – Journal of the …, 1999 – onlinejacc.org
Magnetic resonance angiography by DG Nishimura, A Macovski… – IEEE transactions on …, 1986 – ieeexplore.ieee.org