What is a MRI Scan?|
Magnetic Resonance Imaging work on a completely different imaging process than x-rays and CT scans. No radiation is involved and this makes it favourable for situations where multiple or repeated scans are needed. This reduces the risk of cellular damage due to radiation.
How Does It Work?
MRI uses a strong magnetic field and radiowaves to cause the atoms in the patients body to reorient their spins. This strong "pull" affects the electrons that orbit around the atom by increasing the probability of more electrons on one side of the atom. The magnetic pull is then stopped and the electrons reorient themselves, in doing so they release a small radio signal. These signals are detected by the MRI machine and a computer helps combine them together to form an image.
Like the CT scan, the computer allows the doctor to view a 3D image and also allows viewing of slices of the imaged part. However, MRI technology is expensive and for the moment access is restricted based on cost and need.
Why Use MRI?
MRI scanning is used to view the brain and spinal cord as it can reproduce these organs in amazing detail. Areas of nerve damage in multiple sclerosis can be seen using MRI scanning! It can even distinguish damaged and healthy tissue in the heart wall after a heart attack. This powerful imaging tool helps doctors modify and plan procedures and has reduced the need for exploratory surgery.