MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging, is a process that allows doctors to get a literal view of the inside of their patient’s body. MRI’s capture detailed images of internal organs and tissues. This requires patients to lie still surrounded by magnets, which are used to align protons in the body. Patients lie as still as they can under these powerful magnets, which use radio waves to send data to the MRI machine. This data is decoded and turned into an image of the human body. MRI machines can even construct 3 dimensional images by applying different magnetic gradients.
These scans are not able to distinguish between normal and abnormal tissue. They are not capable of showing organs clearly and are mainly used to examine the skeletal system. Radiation is required to capture x-ray images.
CT Scans are useful for diagnosing different forms of cancer and examining fine bone injuries. While they do deliver high-quality images, they also require patient exposure to radiation. CT Scans only take about five minutes and are thus utilized heavily by emergency rooms.
MRI scans are a safe non-invasive way to capture images and do not require the use of harmful radiation. This makes MRI scans the safest option for most patients. MRI scans can be performed without any risk or adverse side effects. MRI’s are a safe option for brain imaging and are great for showing ligaments, joints, and tendons in great detail; as well as, normal and abnormal tissue, which is easily distinguishable.
Note: MRI scanners are sensitive to metal and may be harmful to patients with metal implants, screws, or shrapnel fragments. All patients should consult their doctor before deciding if an MRI is the safest option.