MRI, or simply MR, scans uses a large magnetic field around the patient to align the nuclei of hydrogen atoms of water in the body and radio waves to alter this alignment. As the nuclei return to original alignment, a detectable radiofrequency signal is created. Different tissues in the body realign at different rates, allowing computers to create high contrast images of body structures.
MRI is used to image neurologic structures such as the spine and brain, as well as muscles, joints, tumor evaluation of various organs, and blood vessels. Intravenous (IV) contrast may be used; patients with impaired kidney function may not be able to have contrast injection.
There is no radiation exposure used in MRI.
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