Magnetic Resonance Imaging – Get to know about the Benefits and Drawbacks

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive imaging technique that provides an unparalleled view inside the human body. Compared to any other imaging modality, the level of detail we can observe is extraordinary. MRI is the method of choice for visualizing detailed internal structures of the body. This is an effective imaging technique that is used to image blood flow in virtually any part of the body. However, there are some advantages and disadvantages of using MRI.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging is ideal for diagnosing multiple sclerosis (MS), tumors of the pituitary gland and brain, tendonitis, strokes in their earliest stages and infections in the brain, spine or joints. This is an ideal technique for visualizing torn ligaments in the wrist, knee and ankle, and shoulder injuries. Doctors can evaluate masses in the soft tissues of the body, bone tumors, cysts and bulging or herniated discs in the spine. The best advantage of using MRI is that ionizing radiation is not used. The MRI contrast materials that are used have a very low incidence of side effects. The ability to image in any plane is the other major advantage of MRI. An MRI system can create axial images as well as images in the sagitall plane and coronally. The three gradient magnets allow the MRI system to choose exactly where in the body to acquire an image and how the slices are oriented.

Although MRI scans are ideal for diagnosis and treatment of a number of conditions, there are some drawbacks.
  • MRI scans cannot be done on patients having pacemakers.
  • MRI scans is not ideal for the ones who are claustrophobic. It can be a disconcerting experience for them.
  • MRI scans require patients to hold very still for extended periods of time that can range from 20 minutes to 90 minutes or more. Even the slightest movement of the part being scanned can cause distorted images that will have to be repeated.
  • MRI systems are very expensive to purchase, and so the exams are also very expensive.
The limitless benefits of MRI for most patients far outweigh the few drawbacks.

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