Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a unique imaging technique used in medical practices of radiology in order to visualize the detailed images of internal structures. It applies the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) to image different types of nuclei atom inside a person’s body. This is accomplished using Magnetic resonance imaging machine, which uses strong magnetic fields to align magnetization of few of body atoms.
This is a new technology in the medical field, and the first magnetic resonance imaging was developed in United Kingdom at the famous University of Aberdeen. The very first’s image of magnetic resonance was published in early 1973.Improvements of this technology then followed this development and years later at John Hopkins University the current magnetic imaging resonance machine was developed by a research team headed by Paul Bottomley who was the director of research in magnetic resonance at this university. The machine also uses fields of radio frequency to orderly alter the magnetization alignments. This functions cause the body nuclei to produce rotating magnetic fields that are easily detected by the machine scanner. This information is then recorded in order to construct a visible image of the body area that has been scanned.
Magnetic resonance imaging is very effective as it provides detailed descriptions of various contrasts between various soft tissues found in the body thus making it possible to view clear images of various body ailments and parts such as the heart, muscles, brain, and diverse types of cancers. Magnetic resonance imaging does not make use of ionizing radiations unlike traditional x-rays and other convectional scanning methods. A computer is used to convert all the signals obtained from MRI scan into remarkably clear and detailed cross-sectional body images of the scanned body parts.
MRI has wide uses in the medical field .It is used by doctors to find various body problems which include bleeding, diseases or infections of the blood vessels, tumors ,injury ,among others.MRI is also used to produce a more detailed description about a body problem initial detected through use of X-ray, CT scan or ultrasound scan. Different types of contrast material are used during a scan using MRI to show the abnormal body tissues more clearly. There are many types of the MRI exams existing today.
First is the Brain MRI that is used to scan the body brain. It is mostly used to diagnose people with problems such as chronic headache, hearing loss, seizures, brain tumor, nerve injury, an aneurysm, brain breeding, and other detrimental problems. During a MRI of the brain, a unique device offered to as head coil is used to aid in producing detailed pictures of the person’s brain.
Furthermore, there is Chest MRI, which is used to scan the chest where it looks at various organs like the heart, blood vessels such as coronary, and the valves. It helps to show whether lungs or the body heart are damaged. As Catherine and John (2005) exposits, “A scan called Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) is used to diagnose condition of blood vessels and how blood is flowing through the blood vessels.”(p.176). MRA is important as it aids in detecting and studying the constriction areas or dilation areas of the body blood vessels.
Another type is the spine MRI which is mostly used in people having arm, neck ,leg or back pains to aid in detecting herniated disks or spinal stenosis defined as the narrowing of ,spinal tumors and disc bulges. MRI is the best method to use in the search for recurrent disks herniations in patients having histories of prior surgeries of the back.
In addition, there is Abdomen MRI that is used to scan body abdomen to diagnose problems in various belly structures and organs such as pancreases, bladder, liver, kidneys, adrenal grands, and gallbladder.It is also used in finding bleeding, blockage, and infections in the belly. For women patients, Pelvic MRI is used to provide detailed descriptions of the ovaries and the uterus in most cases as a follow up to an abnormality detected using ultrasound. For male patients, Pelvic MRI is used to check patients diagnosed with dreaded prostate cancer. Furthermore, Pelvic MRI is used to check at various types of pelvis muscles and bones.
There generally two known types of MRI machines, open MRI machines and closed MRI machines. The main and noticeable difference is on the sizes of these machines and the extent to which they surround the people being checked. A closed MRI machine has amore narrower tube is also smaller and produces good images of the body parts being scanned. On the other hand, the open machine has its three-sided open thus becoming more comfortable to the patients .However, the open machine’s images are not that good because the magnetic fields are not traveling in a complete cycle around the entire body.
In most cases, a technologist who has specialized in MRI does the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test or check-up. Some of the MRI exams need an MRI dye or contrast injection which is very safe and completely different from other contrast agents used in imaging tests with use of x-rays like intravenous pyelogram or CT scan.MRI is painless procedure and has no side effects on the pregnant patients. No major preparations are needed before an MRI exam. The only existing exception is a unique study of body bile ducts referred to as magnetic resonance cholangiopancratography (MRCP) where drinking and eating is Prohibited 2 or 3 hours before the test is done.
The unique characteristics of MRI have tremendously advanced doctors’ abilities to view various human tissues as it can easily generate clear and detailed images of any body part and from any particular angle without need for surgical cutting.MRI causes very little damage to the body cellular structures.