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MRI is a non-invasive way of viewing organs, soft tissues, bone, and virtually all other internal body structures. MRIs are a valuable diagnostic tool because they help physicians diagnose numerous health conditions. Because it can give such clear pictures of soft-tissue structures near and around bones, it is the most sensitive exam for spinal and joint problems.

MRI is growing in popularity as an alternative to traditional x-ray mammography in the early diagnosis of breast cancer. Because no radiation exposure is involved, MRI is often the preferred diagnostic tool for examination of the male and female reproductive systems, pelvis and hips, and the bladder.

How Does an MRI Work?

They work by using a magnet linked to a computer that creates detailed pictures of inner structures of the body. The electromagnetic energy released by exposing the patient to radiofrequency waves is measured and analyzed by a computer. The computer forms 2- or 3-D images that a radiologist, a doctor specially trained to supervise and interpret radiology exams, will analyze the images.

What Can an MRI Help Diagnose?

MRI is widely used to diagnose the following conditions:

  • Sports-related injuries: MRIs examine conditions that affect the knee, shoulder, hip, elbow, and wrist. The images allow physicians to see even very small tears and injuries to ligaments and muscles.
  • Bodily organs: Organs of the chest and abdomen (including the lungs, liver, kidney, spleen, pancreas, and abdominal vessels) can also be examined in great detail with MRI, enabling the diagnosis and evaluation of tumors and functional disorders.
  • Brain tumors and brain diseases: MRI is the most sensitive exam for brain tumors, strokes, and certain chronic disorders of the nervous system such as multiple sclerosis. In addition, it is a useful means of documenting brain abnormalities in patients with dementia, and it is commonly used for patients with disease of the pituitary gland. MRI can detect tiny areas of tissue abnormality in patients with disease of the eyes or the inner ear.

What Is MR Angiography (MRA)?

MR angiography (MRA) is an MRI study of the blood vessels. It utilizes MRI technology to detect, diagnose, and aid the treatment of heart disorders, stroke, and blood vessel diseases. MRA provides detailed images of blood vessels without using any contrast material, although a special form of contrast material is often given to make the MRI images even clearer. The procedure is painless, and the magnetic field is not known to cause tissue damage of any kind.

To schedule an MRI scan appointment at Mee Memorial Healthcare System, please call 831-385-7130.