What is an MRI?

What is an MRI?

We know by now that we need to eat the right foods, need to work out, and do stuff that is healthy for us. Because maintaining good health does not happen by accident, it requires work and smart lifestyle choices. But sometimes when we wake up at 6 am to hit the gym before work or shunning the donuts in breakfast, it’s easy to lose sight of for what are we doing all these. So here are some top articles choices that can keep you motivated to lead a healthy lifestyle and keep diseases at bay.

What is an MRI?

Anyone who has ever watched a TV hospital drama will be familiar with the term ‘MRI’, but not many of us actually understand how an MRI scan actually works. If you ever need one, it can be reassuring to understand what the procedure is and importantly, what it aims to discover.

The basics

MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and it is a medical scanning technique most commonly used for diagnostics. An MRI scanner, which resembles a tube large enough to fit a human body inside, uses powerful magnets, magnetic fields and radio waves to produced detailed scans of the body., What is an MRI?

From the patient’s perspective, the experience of having an MRI scan involves lying flat on a bed which is then moved into the centre of the scanner. Which way around the person is moved into the scanner depends on the area of the body being focused on. A radiographer operates the scanner, controlling it with a computer (located in a separate room, so that the magnets cannot interfere with it) and communicating with the patient using an intercom and monitor screen.

Due to the powerful magnets used, not everyone can have an MRI scan safely. For most people the procedure is painless and completely safe, but for some, such as those with pacemakers, cochlear implants and metallic objects in their body, an MRI wouldn’t be recommended.

The science

MRI scanners make use of the proton particles inside atoms that are inside the water molecules that make up the human body. The magnetic fields force the protons to line up in a particular way (just like the movement of a needle on a compass) and then radio waves are used to knock the protons out of alignment. When they realign, this sends radio signals which can then be picked up by receivers and used to identify the exact position of the protons in the body. These millions of signals are combined to create a detailed image, just like the millions of pixels on a computer or TV screen combine to form a coherent image. Also, protons in different tissues realign at different speeds, so radiographers can tell which organs are which.

What are MRI scanners used for?

MRI scans, with their powerful magnets and the ability to produce very detailed images, are tremendously useful to doctors. They can be used to diagnose many different medical conditions and flag up problems with virtually every part of the body. For example, an MRI scan can assist with the diagnosis of brain tumours, musculoskeletal problems and spinal injuries, vascular abnormalities, female pelvic problems, sports injuries and prostate problems to name just a few.

Doctors use the results of MRI scans to diagnose illnesses and injuries, but they can also use scan images to check how effective previous treatment has been or to plan out further treatment.


Image courtesy of [stockdevil] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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