Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) imaging, commonly referred to as MRI, allows specialists to obtain detailed images of the interior of the body from any perspective. This can provide them with information on pathologies that cannot be seen with a traditional CT scan or ultrasound.
Why an MRI is done
MRI is usually done on a particular part of the body in which a disease is suspected to be present. The most frequent reasons for which an MRI can be requested are the following:
In the head, you can see tumours, abscesses, aneurysms, bleeding, or nerve injuries. MRI can also be used to study pathologies in the eyes and in the ears or to study the impact or progress of brain degenerative diseases.
It is commonly used in relation to the thorax, to study the cardiac anatomy or the pathology of the coronary arteries. It is also used in the study of breast cancer or in the case of lung tumours.
With regard to the abdomen and pelvis, organs such as the pancreas, kidneys or liver, uterus and ovaries in women, or the prostate in men can be studied in detail. MRI can help in identifying the presence of tumors, infections, malformations, etc.
The blood vessels can be easily and clearly examined using MRI, thanks to its high-resolution imaging. It allows the specialist to see thrombi, infarcts, aneurysms, malformations or bleeding.
MRI can help in the diagnosis of numerous problems related to bones and joints such as arthritis, fractures, problems in ligaments, tendons or cartilage. In addition, as in the other organs, tumors or infections can be seen.
It is widely used to study spinal problems such as disc hernias because it allows the specialist to see in great detail the intervertebral discs, the spinal cord and the nerves that leave the spinal cord.
It is also frequently used in knee problems, to study the various associated ligaments or meniscus. And in problems such as osteonecrosis or bone infarction.
What is ‘contrast’?
In many occasions, to perform this imaging technique it is necessary to administer a special liquid, called ‘contrast’, that highlights the organs under investigation and facilitates the interpretation of the images.
The most commonly used contrast is called gadolinium and, unlike the contrast used to make a CT scan, it is not composed of iodine, so it is unlikely to cause any side effects or allergies. This contrast medium is administered intravenously.
Whether you choose to opt for a private MRI scan in London or at another healthcare facility, because your doctor has advised you of the need for an MRI examination, rest assured that this medical technique is entirely safe and offers an optimal method for the diagnosis of a multitude of conditions.