Magnetic Resonance Imaging (or more commonly referred to as 'MRIs') is a medical test that doctors use to determine whether or not there is a problem in an area of the body. This harmless, innovative procedure uses a field of magnetic radio waves and a computer to show detailed images of organs, tissue, bone and any other parts of the body that a physician may need to examine. MRIs are a unique type of test because it allows doctors to take pictures of the areas in question without using ionized radiation that are typically used in x-rays.
There are different portions of the body that an MRI is effective in determining whether or not there is something wrong with the patient. Some include, but at not limited to, the chest, abdomen, pelvis, lungs liver, kidney, spleen, certain bones, reproductive organs in both male and female as well as blood vessels. An MRI is able to effectively diagnose certain complications in the body such as tumors in the pelvis, abnormalities in the heart and arteries and lesions that could occur in any portion of the body. Some of these conditions can be quite severe and painful at certain points so doctors make it a routine to use MRI as a guide to where the problem is located. MRIs are especially useful for detecting abnormalities of fluid level with the body because of its use with protons that are easily seen within water molecules.
Fortunately for the patient, MRI exams are harmless and not painful. Some patients may feel uneasy from the procedure and others feel a sense of claustrophobia even though the scanners are well lit and air-conditioned. In these instances, the doctor may administer a mild sedative. A contrast material is used to ensure that proper results are read through the MRI scanner. This helps the doctors distinguish internal organ and parts more clearly. There are certain cases where the patient may feel nauseous after it is administered and even feel discomfort after the needle is removed. The patient is left in the area where the MRI is performed by themselves, but the technician will be able to see, hear and speak to the patient at all times. There is often noise that is heard through the MRI scanner so if the patient is feeling uncomfortable with the extra noise they can request a pair of earplugs. Those who find no need to be sedated usually have no recovery time after the procedure.
After the MRI session is complete, a radiologist will be the person to determine what the test results conclude. The radiologist will then send the report to the physician who is handling the patient's case. There are many benefits to these types of routine testing procedures. One of the main benefits is that it is risk-free and painless. It allows the doctor to evaluate the structure of the organ and how it is functioning in a very clear manner and formulate a diagnosis more quickly if there is, indeed, a problem.
Last modified: December 28, 2010.