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What are the benefits of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)?

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, has greatly improved the sensitivity and specificity (accuracy) of diagnostic imaging, particularly in structures such as the liver, brain, spinal cord, and joint spaces.

A great advantage of MRI is that the patient is not exposed to x-rays. The images are created with the use of strong magnetic fields, radiofrequency transducers (commonly called coils), and computer-assisted image processing. To date, no ill health effects have been reported by use of superconducting magnets or radiofrequency pulses in the diagnostic range.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides a better-quality image of the body.

Dr. Percy P. Lee, MD
Radiation Oncologist

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the clinically preferred method for imaging soft tissue because it can produce a clearer, more detailed view of internal organs than computed tomography (CT) without the radiation exposure associated with CT. In certain areas of the body, such as the abdomen, pelvis and breast, MRI allows doctors to more easily differentiate a tumor or tumor bed from healthy tissue, which can be difficult to differentiate on CT. For example, MRI-guided radiation therapy is superior to CT-guided therapy in differentiating lumpectomy cavities after surgery for breast cancer. The clearer visualization potentially allows for more precise therapy by reducing treatment margins and limiting radiation-induced tissue scarring.

This content originally appeared online at UCLA Health.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.