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Why do doctors use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)?

MRIs help doctors look at soft tissues and the central nervous system.

The only way to see inside a human body better that with an MRI is to cut it open. MRIs are ideal for:

  • Visualizing shoulder injuries
  • Diagnosing multiple sclerosis
  • Diagnosing infections in the brain, spine or joints
  • Diagnosing tendonitis
  • Visualizing torn ligaments in the wrist, knee and ankle
  • Evaluating masses in the body's soft tissues
  • Diagnosing strokes in their earliest stages
  • Evaluating bone tumors, cysts and bulging or herniated discs
  • Diagnosing tumors of the pituitary gland and brain

These are only a few of many reasons to perform an MRI scan.

MRI systems do not use ionizing radiation, which is a comfort to many patients. Advantages to the system also include the fact that MRI contrast materials (dyes) have a very low incidence of side effects. MRIs also have the ability to take images in any plane. CT scans are limited to one plane, the axial plane (If you think of a loaf-of-bread, the axial plane is how the loaf is sliced normally). An MRI system can make axial images as well as images in a sagitall plane (as if it were slicing bread lengthwise) and coronally (like the layers of a cake) or, for that matter, any degree in between. It can do all of this without the patient having to move.

If you've ever had an X-ray, you know that you have to move every time they take a different picture.

Dr. Charles J. Sophy, MD
Adolescent Medicine Specialist

MRIs are ideal for:

  • Visualizing shoulder injuries
  • Diagnosing multiple sclerosis
  • Diagnosing infections in the brain, spine or joints
  • Diagnosing tendonitis
  • Visualizing torn ligaments in the wrist, knee and ankle
  • Evaluating masses in the body's soft tissues
  • Diagnosing strokes in their earliest stages
  • Evaluating bone tumors, cysts and bulging or herniated discs
  • Diagnosing tumors of the pituitary gland and brain

These are only a few of many reasons to perform an MRI scan.

MRI systems do not use ionizing radiation, which is a comfort to many patients. Advantages to the system also include the fact that MRI contrast materials (dyes) have a very low incidence of side effects. MRIs also have the ability to take images in any plane. An MRI system can make axial images as well as images in a sagital plane.

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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.