Various Applications of Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Magnetic resonance imaging is a relatively new medical technology that has completely revolutionized medical imaging and the diagnosing process as we know it. Using this technique, internal images of the body can be taken without making any incisions. Completely non-intrusive methods are used, which makes MRI a very effective, but somewhat expensive medical technique for physicians to use.

Some of the common MRI applications are as given below:

  1. Brain: MRI is unsurpassed as an imaging modality because of its superior sensitivity for most disease processes in the central nervous system as compared to other techniques such as X-ray and CT scan.  MRI is considered to be a suitable method for identifying primary and secondary neoplasms (such as tumors of the hemispheres), Seizure disorders (such as temporal lobe epilepsy), cerebral contusion, subdural haematoma and Alzheimer's disease. MRI can investigate underlying organic disorders or structural abnormalities such as schizophrenia, manic-depression, and dementia.
  1. Abdomen: MRI is an excellent screening technique for study of the liver because of its great sensitivity in detecting lesions, especially metastases. Using MRI, doctors can also detect and monitor the progress of other diseases such as hepatitis, hemochromatosis, and the spread of intra-abdominal tumors, renal vein thrombosis, inferior vena cava, tumor invasion, venous flow pattern and portal vein obstruction. Applications include identification of primary tumors and metastases, lymphoma, cavernous haemangioma, hepatitis, cirrhosis, hemochromatosis, portal vein obstruction as well as trauma evaluation.
  1. Pelvis/Genitourinary System: MRI is the preferred technique for the study of the reproductive organs and pelvic contents because ionizing radiation is not used. MRI helps in the staging of carcinoma of the endometrium, cervix, prostate and rectum. This technique is used for evaluating primary and metastatic neoplasm and their extension, for prostate cancer staging, for diagnosis of gynecological disease such as tumors and cysts of cervix, uterus, ovaries, vaginal carcinomas, inflammatory disease, and abscess.
  1. Thorax and Mediastinum: MRI is a useful technique used for diagnosing mediastinal and hilar masses as well as lymph node enlargement.
  1. Spine and Spinal Cord: It provides clear images of the spinal cord, CSF spaces, spinal nerves and roots, intra-spinal fat and ligaments, neural formina, vertebral bodies, facet joints, vertebral marrow spaces and intervertebral discs.
MRI technique has been used for imaging various other parts of the body.

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