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If you’ve recently been told that you need an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging scan), you’ve got nothing to worry about during the procedure. It’s one of the most detailed forms of scanning for soft tissue and can help to diagnose many maladies in the body, whether it’s a sports injury or a stroke. And it’s completely pain-free!

Most people don’t know the major differences between an MRI and other types of medical imaging, so we thought we’d give you a little information about the technology we’ll be using during the scan.

How Does It Work?

As you’re probably aware, the human body is made mostly of water, aka H2O. The H in that notation is hydrogen, and hydrogen atoms become aligned when subjected to a strong magnetic field. This aligns all the proton spins of the hydrogen atoms.

When the magnetic energy ceases, the hydrogen protons return to their original spin, which produces a radio wave that interacts with the radio waves that the scanner is sending out. These variances in radio waves are then recorded by the computer, which are then interpreted into an image we can see.

What Is It Used For?

MRI diagnostic imaging has a range of uses. It’s used in neuroimaging in order to scan the brain and the central nervous system. This can find out what has occurred (or is occurring) for someone with dementia, epilepsy, stroke, or other brain problems.

MRIs are also used to scan many other organs, including the heart, liver, and gastrointestinal tract. It is used to scan soft tissues, joints, and to look for tumors throughout the body.  

Is It Like An X-ray?

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of magnetic resonance imaging is that it isn’t using any ionizing radiation. As you might recall, ionizing radiation is the kind produced by x-rays. Every day we live on Earth we are exposed to safe amounts ionizing radiation (also known as background radiation) from outer space and decaying elements in the ground. If you travel in an airplane, you are exposed to more ionizing radiation because there’s less atmosphere to block radiation from space. Another way that you might get more ionizing radiation is from certain diagnostic imaging scans such as DEXA, CT scans, and traditional x-rays.

While the amount of ionizing radiation in those procedures is regarded as safe, it’s not even something you have to worry about with MRIs. MRIs use no ionizing radiation, so you can have as many as you need without any fear.

Are There Any Downsides?

There are two downsides to MRI medical scans. First of all, MRI machines are some of the most complicated machines ever built by man, which makes the scans more expensive than many other types of diagnostic imaging. Second, MRIs cannot be performed on people with certain metals in their bodies. Be sure to let the technician know if you have metal rods, a pacemaker, metallic ear implants, or any other type of metal in your body. Be sure to let the technician know about any dental work you have, though it’s unlikely it will affect the scan.

Visit Our Medical Imaging Center In Fair Lawn!

We’re ready to help your doctor find out what’s going on inside your body, so when you need an MRI scan, we’re ready to help. Schedule an appointment today!