MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan is a medical investigation radiology technique that uses exceptionally strong magnetic field and radio waves to generate images of structures and organs inside the human body. This technologically advanced technique has revolutionized the treatment of various ailments and finds ample applications in hospitals for staging of diseases, medical diagnosis etc. It is preferred over the CT scan technique because it does not expose the body to any harmful ionizing radiation.
The test taker has to lie down on a movable table that slides into the MRI machine. Once completely inside, the machine creates a strong magnetic field around the body that aligns the protons of the hydrogen atoms and directs radio waves at it. This makes the protons of the body spin which produces a faint signal that is detected by the receiver portion of the MRI scanner. The received information is then processed by a computer, and an image of the internal organ(s) is produced. The procedure is absolutely painless and in case the patient is claustrophobic, a sedative is given to him/her before the scan. The entire procedure can take about 60-90 minutes.
A MRI scan is a safe and accurate method of detecting any diseases persisting throughout the body. It is widely used to diagnose musculoskeletal problems, ailments of the brain (tumors, stroke etc.), spinal conditions, prostrate and vascular abnormalities. It can be used to detect fractures or other internal injuries as well. A person can also take a MRI scan if he/she experiences some kind of ENT (ear, nose and throat) or gastrointestinal tract conditions.
It should be noted that a pregnant woman, a person who has undergone any surgery or implant lately or has a cardiac pacemaker should not be allowed to take the scan.
The results of the MRI scan usually take a couple of weeks to come through and may vary in accordance with the nature of problem and the part of the body affected by it. Different tissues send back different types of signal. For instance, a healthy tissue sends out a different signal than a cancerous one which in turn would be different than the signal produced by a fractured part. The specialist studies the respective results thoroughly and then decides upon the required line of treatment.