Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a method of obtaining detailed pictures
of internal body structures without the use of radiation
or radioactive substances of any kind. This is accomplished
by placing the patient in a magnetic field while harmless
radio waves are turned on and off. This causes the
body to emit its own weak radio signals which vary according to tissue
characteristics. These signals are then picked up by a sensitive antenna
and fed to a computer which produces detailed images of the body for
interpretation by trained radiologists.
High Field MRI utilizes a cylindrical tube in which the magnet is enclosed. Patients are placed in the unit lying down, either head first or feet first. Since this configuration produces optimum magnetic field strength, the signal and images produced are of the highest quality. HF MRI exams usually take 20 - 30 minutes.
You can help to produce a high quality image by lying still during the examination while breathing normally. The average scan takes 5 to 15 minutes - the complete examination about 30 to 45 minutes - during which several dozen images will be produced.
With incredible accuracy, MRI can detect many abnormalities which CT scanning and X-rays cannot, especially those involving soft tissue. In fact, MRI reduces the need for biopsies, exploratory surgery, and other diagnostic procedures which carry associated risk.
During the test you will neither see nor feel anything happen. It is totally painless and has no known side effects. Because no radiation or radioactive substances are used, patients requiring frequent scans avoid the potential danger of cumulative radiation exposure.