Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.
MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and virtually all other internal body structures. The images can then be examined on a computer monitor, transmitted electronically, printed or copied to a CD. MRI does not use ionizing radiation (x-rays).
Detailed MR images allow physicians to better evaluate various parts of the body and determine the presence of certain diseases that may not be assessed adequately with other imaging methods such as x-ray, ultrasound orcomputed tomography (also called CT or CAT scanning).
What are some common uses of the procedure?
MR imaging of the body is performed to evaluate:
- organs of the chest and abdomen—including the heart, liver, biliary tract, kidneys, spleen, bowel, pancreas and adrenal glands.
- pelvic organs including the reproductive organs in the male (prostate and testicles) and the female (uterus, cervix and ovaries).
- blood vessels (MR Angiography).
Physicians use the MR examination to help diagnose or monitor treatment for conditions such as:
- tumors of the chest, abdomen or pelvis.
- certain types of heart problems.
- blockages or enlargements of blood vessels, including the aorta, renal arteries, and arteries in the legs.
- diseases of the liver, such as cirrhosis, and that of other abdominal organs, including the bile ducts, gallbladder, and pancreatic ducts.
- diseases of the small intestine, colon, and rectum
- cysts and solid tumors in the kidneys and other parts of the urinary tract.
- tumors and other abnormalities of the reproductive organs (e.g., uterus, ovaries, testicles, prostate).
- causes of pelvic pain in women, such as fibroids, endometriosis and adenomyosis.
- suspected uterine congenital abnormalities in women undergoing evaluation for infertility.
- breast cancer and implants.