MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a diagnostic procedure that combines a powerful magnet, radio waves and computer technology to provide detailed images of tissues, muscles, nerves and bones. Because MRI uses magnetic force and radio waves to create images, there is no radiation exposure during the procedure. MRI is often used instead of CT to study soft tissues or organs because bones do not obscure the organs and soft tissues as they do with CT imaging.
Advanced technology and imaging capability
MRI can be used to assess everything from ruptured discs in the spine to detecting brain tumors and vascular diseases through techniques such as:
- Spectroscopy (MRS) assesses chemical abnormalities in the brain for conditions such as coma, Alzheimer's disease, stroke, brain tumors, head injury and MS.
- Angiography (MRA) evaluates blood flow, or detects brain aneurysms or blood vessel abnormalities. It is used to visualize renal, carotid and vertebral arteries, or examine the aorta for aneurysm.
- Perfusion and diffusion scanning examines blood flow through tissues to evaluate strokes.