Magnetic resonance imaging or MRI is an extraordinary piece of equipment that has revolutionized the medical industry. This mighty machine can detect irregularities in the human body without requiring invasive procedures, offering doctors and surgeons an easy way to diagnose conditions.
MRIs use the body’s natural magnetic field to produce detailed images of the organs, allowing medical professionals an accurate look inside a patient. When a patient is inside the MRI scanner, and the magnets start moving around them, it stimulates the body’s hydrogen protons, causing them to align to the magnetic field along the same axis. It also uses radio waves instead of radiation, making it a safer method of diagnostic imaging.
How MRI Scans Use Radio Waves
In the process of an MRI scan, it adds radio waves to the magnetic field, causing a deflection in hydrogen nuclei. It makes these particles resonate, hence the “resonance” part of the MRI’s full name. The machine can alter the magnetic field in small amounts, enabling the magnets to create various angles of the patient’s body that will resonate at different frequencies.
The MRI machine can use numerous radiofrequency pulses in particular sequences to study a specific body part. Certain tissues emit different frequencies, such as fat, which can be isolated by switching the wavefield off and on. It leaves the machine to detect organs by filtering out fat’s frequency, allowing it to scan it for any irregularities. Most diseases manifest themselves through a marked increase in water content, visible on MRI scans.
The Benefits of MRIs
There’s no radiation involved in MRI scans, which means it won’t trigger cancer cells or harm the body in any way. In fact, MRIs are known for being incredibly safe, as there aren’t any risks associated with it. The only potentially harmful aspect of MRI scans is that magnets are incredibly strong, which can affect a pacemaker’s functions in people. Metal clips and metal valves in the body may also partially move due to an MRI scan.
While there aren’t any issues with artificial joints, technicians must always ask about any metal implants before the procedure. If patients have metal dental fillings, they are not susceptible to any risk by the MRI’s magnetic strength.
Typical Uses for MRIs
MRIs are useful at assessing organs throughout the body, which makes it essential in diagnosing tumors. It can also help medical professionals identify certain diseases like cirrhosis.
Apart from the internal organs, MRIs can scan the heart, blood vessels, breasts, and the spinal cord. It subsequently provides vital information about any abnormalities in these body parts.
The Different Types of MRI
There are many types of MRI with their respective uses. A closed MRI involves a patient being almost entirely enclosed in a large tube, which generates high-quality images. It can also scan much faster due to the magnetic field’s strength. However, this type of MRI is unsuitable for those who struggle with claustrophobia or those with large body frames.
Meanwhile, an open MRI is a preferred method for people with the conditions mentioned above. Only half of the patient’s body is covered by the system, providing a more comfortable experience. It is also more child-friendly as the technician can interact with the child, decreasing anxiety.
The upright imaging MRI uses positional imaging, offering more flexibility for patients as it performs scans in various positions. As a result, it produces a timely diagnosis for different parts of the body. It is also compatible with any body type.
Extremity MRIs are specially designed to scan the hands, arms, legs, and feet. Being geared towards the extremities, it is much smaller than other MRI systems but involves an enclosure.
Lastly, the breast MRI is a scan that allows doctors to make a more extensive diagnosis once a patient receives a biopsy that indicates cancer. It can also be used in tandem with mammograms to detect breast cancer.
MRI machines are incredible pieces of technology that have allowed medical professionals to make accurate diagnoses, enabling patients to seek life-saving treatment. Thanks to sophisticated MRI parts, these machines can generate extraordinarily detailed and high-quality images of people’s internal organs. With these medical marvels, people learn in-depth knowledge about the current state of their bodies.
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