Medical testing is a lot different today than it was even a few decades ago. One powerful tool that many doctors use is the magnetic resonance imaging, also known as MRI imaging machine. This also goes by the name, nuclear magnetic imaging. This is used to let medical personnel “see” inside a person’s body without having to open them up.
To understand what makes this such a great technology, it is important to understand how it works. The machine creates a powerful magnetic field with which radio waves are added to produce detailed pictures of parts inside a human body that cannot be seen with ultrasound, CT scans, or X-rays. MRI imaging is used by orthopedic specialists to get a look at the joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and cartilage, whereas an x-ray is only going to show bone.
MRI imaging is not only used by orthopedic surgeons. This technology is also used by cardiac surgeons, maternity clinics, emergency rooms, and other to find a host of problems. These medical scans can be sued to diagnose multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, tumors, strokes, problems with the inner ear, and a number of other problems.
Here are some benefits to MRI imaging:
- It is totally painless and non-invasive. When you have this kind of medical scan done, you lay in a tube, the machine turns on and about 20 minutes later, you are done. The machine is loud, thanks to all of the magnets but that is the worst of it. Often people listen to music while it is being performed but it is totally painless and non-invasive.
- It does not take a long time. If you lie still while you are having the test done, it should only take around 20 minutes. Usually, the wait time from when you get to the medical imaging center and when you go in for your scan is not very long.
- It can be used for a number of medical issues. As was noted, there are a lot of conditions, illnesses, and injuries that can be discovered using an MRI machine that cannot be found other ways. For example, if you have an injury with the cartilage in your knee or shoulder, that injury will not be picked up by an x-ray machine but will show up on an MRI. That makes this very useful for a lot of people and can give you more peace of mind.
- There is no radiation involved. Unlike an X-ray or a CT scan, which use radiation, there is no radiation used during the MRI imaging process. The machine uses powerful magnets to create a magnetic field so it is safer than the other kinds of scans. It should be noted that the amount of radiation you are exposed to during a cat scan (CT) or x-ray is extremely low so that they are not unsafe, but if that is a concern, you may feel better with your MRI scan.
- The images are incredibly detailed. We have all seen x-rays. While they are very helpful in showing where there are breaks in a bone, they do not give too much information beyond that. The images that are created by the MRI imaging technology is very detailed. Doctors can get a lot more information from MRI scans than from other kinds of imaging such as ultrasound.
- The contrast media causes fewer reactions than what is used in other medical scans. From time to time your doctor will want to push the technology they are using to get a bit father. When that is needed, they will use what they call “contrast.” This is a dye, of sorts. Some people can have an allergic reaction to the contrast for both the MRIs and CT scans but fewer people have them when the MRI contrast is used.
Medical scanning technology has come a long way. MRIs can give doctors a look inside the body to see things and diagnose problems in ways that were not possible a few decades ago. This means a lot of things for patients. Not only can problems be detected earlier than ever before but a much larger number of problems can be found and treated when they are easier to deal with.