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Magnetic Resonance Imaging Terms to Know
Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or an MRI, is a technique used to view internal organs. It is similar in some ways to x-rays or other radiology techniques, but does allow for detail unavailable with other kinds of tests. Having an MRI can be intimidating for many people, but familiarity with common terminology can make the procedure more approachable.
Radiology - The study of imaging within the body. Radiologists are often the people who interpret the results of an MRI scan. However, they do not necessarily conduct the procedure itself. That is often done by another technician or specialist.
Contrast Material - Also called contrast dye. This can be used to highlight different structures or processes in the body. For example, contrast dye in the digestive system can be used with x-rays to determine if a patient has an intestinal blockage.
Closed MRI - A machine in which the scanner and magnet completely surround the patient. These allow for the most comprehensive tests.
Open MRI - A machine in which the scanner only partially surrounds the patient. Many people find these types of MRIs to be more comfortable than closed MRI machines, but they cannot be used for all diagnostic tests.
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging - Also called fMRI. This is a technique used to view activity in the brain. It can be used to diagnose diseases, as well as for neurological research.
Magnetic Resonance Angiogram - Also called an MGA. These are a specific type of MRI used to view blood vessels within the body. These often involve use of a contrast material.
Magnetic resonance imaging is used in medical applications to see functions and structures of the body in detail. It is used for detecting anything from brain hemorrhages to breast cancer. MRIs are similar to CAT scans and ultrasounds, but produce a higher resolution, allowing for greater contrast between soft tissues.
You'll find MRI machines in hospitals, medical centers, and clinics. They are operated by qualified x-ray technicians or nurses with experience in this type of safe imaging technique. Often used to detect neurological, cardiovascular, oncological, and musculoskeletal problems, MRIs and NMRIs (nuclear magnetic resonance imaging) are just a couple of types of medical diagnostic imaging techniques used in the medical field for diagnosis and intervention.
In addition to creating images of body parts, opened and closed MRI equipment can help doctors diagnose and subsequently treat problems relating to the heart, stomach, spine, or leg by showing the images on a screen. Radiology is usually a separate department within a hospital, providing anything from 4D ultra sounds to x-rays. MRI system scans cost a lot, but are many times covered by health insurance.
Anyone who has had a critical accident may require an MRI so doctors can quickly pinpoint what body part is injured. These problems can range from internal bleeding to cardio disorders. A general exam or test is given to decide what action to take. A surgical procedure may take place shortly after.
In other cases, such as with stomach or gastric procedures, general complications, or breast and other cancer, medical resonance imaging is used on a regular basis to see progress of a tumor, for instance. There are other methods and systems out there related to MRI, such as functional MRI, or diffusion MRI, which offers images of biological tissues coupled with water diffusion characteristics.