Your doctor has sent you to have an MRI scan. It’s a very strange scan the first time you have one, because the machine makes loud and awkward noises while the magnets are scanning your body and picking up images.
You may wonder why your doctor ordered this particular test and what the results might reveal. Understanding what an MRI scan is and what it can detect will help you understand why an MRI is the scanning technique of choice for your particular condition.
What Is an MRI?
MRI, which stands for magnetic resonance imaging, is a technology that picks up images of your internal organs in a deeper way than an X-ray can. One of the main benefits from a patient’s perspective is that this type of imaging technology uses magnets, not radiation.
Healthcare professionals use MRI scans to diagnose a variety of diseases and injuries that go beyond just the bones. MRI scans produce cross-sections of your internal organs so that the doctor can identify any irregularities in your tissues or organs, such as lesions and tumors.
During an MRI scan, the machine produces a strong, continuous magnetic field in relatively short bursts. Just like an X-ray, you do not feel any sensations from the scanner. The technology combines the magnetic field with special radio signals to produce clear, sharp, detailed pictures of the interior of your body.
What Can an MRI See?
The cross-sectional images produced by an MRI scan will help your doctor see the bigger picture of your tissues and organs. MRI imaging is especially useful for viewing the soft tissues of the body, such as the brain, spinal cord, nerves, muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
When looking at the brain, for example, an MRI can distinguish the white matter and gray matter. This can be useful when a doctor is diagnosing tumors, lesions, aneurysms, and other issues of the central nervous system.
An MRI of other areas of the body can also be used to examine the:
- Uterus and ovaries (women)
- Prostate gland (men)
Conditions and diseases that can be diagnosed by having an MRI scan include:
- Heart problems (damage from a heart attack or due to congenital heart disease)
- Problems with blood vessels (narrowed or blocked arteries or blood clots)
- Diseases of the liver (cirrhosis)
- Lesions in the brain and/or spinal cord (multiple sclerosis)
- Masses in the chest, abdomen, or pelvis
Your doctor may order further tests if the MRI scan only answers part of the question. For example, a mass in the chest could be either lung cancer or pneumonia. The doctor may order a PET scan or a biopsy for further analysis in order to determine an accurate diagnosis.
Who Analyzes the MRI?
Once the MRI is performed, a doctor called a radiologist will conduct an initial interpretation of the scans for your physician. The radiologist will write a brief report which will be provided to your doctor, who will use this information to diagnose your condition or to begin the diagnostic process.
If you are looking for a comprehensive medical clinic that has on-site imaging, Intercoastal Medical Group is here for you. Our website, Intercoastalmedical.com/services/imaging services details the imaging services that we offer, including MRI. To schedule an appointment, contact us today by calling us at a location near you, or fill out our online appointment request form now. We look forward to partnering with you and your family for optimum health and wellness!