What is an MRI examination?

An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is widely used radiology examination. This imaging technique uses principles of magnetism, radio waves, and a computer to create detailed images of the body structures. Your doctor can use MRI examination to diagnose you or to see how well you have responded to treatment.

Which diseases can show up on MRI?

MRI is used to produce two-dimensional pictures of internal organs and tissues. Doctors might be looking for variety of disorders, such as:

  • stroke
  • cancer
  • aneurysm
  • spinal cord injuries
  • multiple sclerosis
  • eye or inner ear problems
  • numerous sports injuries

MRI is also widely used in research to measure brain structure and function. This examination is called functional MRI. In other cases, you may need an MRI with contrast agent to increase the visibility of certain parts of your body.

How does the MRI work?

The MRI scanner is a tube surrounded by a giant circular magnet. The patient is placed on a moveable bed that is inserted into the magnet. The magnet creates a strong magnetic field that aligns the protons of hydrogen atoms, which are then exposed to a beam of radio waves. This spins the various protons of the body, and they produce a faint signal that is detected by the receiver portion of the MRI scanner. The receiver information is processed by a computer, and an image is produced.

In contrast to X-rays and CT imaging techniques, an MRI does not use radiation. However, there are some risks and conditions, when it is better not to undergo an MRI examination, unless it is inevitable. This includes, for example, pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Who is reading the MRI images?

The MRI scanner is operated by a radiographer, who is trained in carrying out imaging investigations. This specialist controls the scanner using a computer, which is in a different room, to keep it away from the magnetic field generated by the scanner. You can talk to the radiographer through an intercom during the examination and they’ll be able to see you on a television monitor throughout the scan.

Do you need an MRI examination? Read more here about how to prepare for it.

Not sure where to start?

Get a quote for an affordable scan >

AffordableScan Team

Recent Posts

Doctor Referrals for Imaging Services & MRIs

The cash pay patients often ask us where to get doctor’s referrals for imaging services. Although it seems like an…

23 hours ago

Testicular Ultrasound

Testicular Ultrasound uses sound waves to generate pictures of the testicles and nearby tissues. This specific ultrasound assists with assessing…

2 months ago

What is a Full Body MRI?

Introduction A Full Body MRI scan(or whole-body MRI) consists of several MRIs (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans done with the to…

3 months ago

CPT Codes for MRIs

Below you will find a the most commonly used CPT codes for MRIs (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) for different parts of…

4 months ago

Standup vs Open vs Closed MRI Machines

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an imaging procedure that uses magnetism, radio frequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images…

4 months ago

How much does an MRI cost at Sutter Health?

The cost of an MRI at Sutter Health varies depending on the type of scan and location. Sutter Health publishes…

5 months ago
Get the best cash MRI price >