Types of Exams
MRI of the abdomen is most frequently used to further evaluate an abnormality seen on another test, such as an ultrasound or CT scan. Thus, the exam is usually tailored to look at specific organs or tissues, such as the liver, adrenal glands or pancreas.
Bone and Joint MRI
MRI can evaluate virtually all of the bones and joints, as well as the soft tissues. Tendon, ligament, muscle, cartilage and bone injuries can be diagnosed using MRI scans. It can also be used to look for infections and masses.
An MRI of the brain produces very detailed pictures of brain anatomy. It is commonly used to evaluate patients with headaches, seizures, weakness, blurry vision, etc. It also can further evaluate an abnormality seen on a CT scan. During a brain MRI, a special device called a head coil is placed around the patient's head. The patient can see through large gaps in this coil, which is similar to a helmet. This device is what helps to accurately produce the very detailed pictures of the brain.
An MRA (Magnetic Resonance Angiography) is performed to evaluate blood vessels. The blood vessels in the brain and neck (carotid and vertebral arteries) are frequently studied by MRA to look for areas of narrowing, dilation, aneurysms or other vascular malformations. In the abdomen, the arteries supplying blood to the kidneys are also frequently examined with this technique. MRA of the extremities (arms and legs) may be used to investigate problems with blood vessels that may be causing reduced blood flow.
For women, pelvic MRI is used to evaluate the ovaries and uterus as follow-up to an ultrasound exam which showed an abnormality. It is also used to evaluate endometrial cancer. For men, pelvic MRI is sometimes used to evaluate prostate cancer.
This test is most commonly used to look for a herniated disc or narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis) in patients with neck, arm, back and/or leg pain. It is also the best test to look for a recurrent disc herniation in a patient who has had earlier back surgery. MRI of the spine is the gold standard for imaging the anatomy and diseases affecting the spinal cord.
Its larger and more open design allows for a more comfortable experience and its technology gives your physician better results. 3T, or 3 Tesla, MRI uses a more technologically advanced magnet that gets results more quickly and accurately. But like a traditional MRI, images are created using safe radio waves and magnetic fields, and are free of high-energy radiation.