Types of MRI
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to create clear, detailed images of internal organs and tissues. Since X-rays are not used, no radiation exposure is involved. Instead, radio waves are directed at the body. This exam takes 30-50 minutes on average and consists of several imaging series. Many studies will require a small intravenous injection of a contrast agent. However, this agent does not contain iodine, an element used in other contrast agents for X-rays or CT scans. MRI is often used to evaluate or diagnose tumors and diseases of the heart, liver and bowel.
This test uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies and a computer to make detailed images of organs and structures in the body. An MRI uses magnetic fields to find small changes in brain tissue that help to find and diagnose stroke.
A musculoskeletal (shoulders, knees, extemities, etc.) MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to produce detailed pictures of joints, soft tissues and bones. It is usually the best choice for evaluating the body for injuries, tumors and degenerative disorders.
Cardiac MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to produce detailed pictures of the structures within and around the heart. Cardiac MRI is used to detect or monitor cardiac disease and to evaluate the heart's anatomy and function in patients with both heart disease present at birth and heart diseases that develop after birth. Cardiac MRI does not use ionizing radiation to produce images, and it may provide the best images of the heart for certain conditions.
Abdominal MRI is a noninvasive procedure that uses powerful magnets and radio waves to produce pictures of the inside of the abdomen without exposure to ionizing radiation (X-rays).
Spine MRI uses a magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to create detailed image slices (cross sections) of the various parts of your spine. MR technology produces good soft-tissue images and allows the physician to evaluate different types of body tissue including the spinal cord, vertebral disks, surrounding tissues, nerves to the back, as well as distinguish normal, healthy tissue from diseased tissue.