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Why Have an MRI Scan?

What if your physician has prescribed a Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan (MRI)? Why not just get an X-ray or a CT scan? There are a number of reasons someone might undergo an MRI scan. Besides being painless and non-invasive, the MRI uses no radiation like the CT scan does. The MRI scan is a diagnostic tool used in examining the structures of human body. MRI scans are a relatively new imaging technique that was first used in the 1980's. The scanner works with magnets and radio waves to produce a clear, concise, and accurate picture of the bones, joints, and soft tissue of the human body.

Before MRI scans, many ailments such as certain cancers required a biopsy to determine the nature of the disease and the extent to which it had progressed. Today, MRI scans are used to diagnosis a wide array of medical conditions that can involve a patient's vascular or reproductive system. It detects problems with the brain, eyes, or ears. It can see arthritis in bone structure. The list of problems that can be diagnosed by a MRI continues to grow each year, so there are many different reasons for a patient to have an MRI scan.

An MRI shows much more detail than a CT scan. Imagine a certain patient has heart disease and may need to have the structure or function of his or her vascular system examined. The MRI scan will show arteries, veins and blockages that may require surgery. Someone may have fallen and hit their head on the concrete. The MRI can detect bleeding or tumors in the brain. The MRI is capable of seeing the tiny vessels of the optic nerve. It can find kidney or liver damage. When one considers the complexities of the human body, the list of procedures an MRI scan can perform is truly amazing. An MRI scan may not be something you want to have done, but the procedure and the images it shows can be life saving.

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