If you know anyone who has torn a ligament in their knee or been diagnosed with cancer, multiple sclerosis or other diseases, you may have heard about their MRI experiences. Just what is an MRI, though? There are so many different types of scans that are possible these days, including x-rays, CT scans, echocardiograms, and ultrasounds, it can be hard to keep up with the purpose of each. An MRI, short for magnetic resonance imaging, is used to scan the interior of the body, typically taking images of the brain, ligaments, muscles, heart and other soft tissues.
What Types of MRI Scanners Exist
There are two main types of MRI machines: a traditional closed MRI scanner, and an open MRI scanner. A traditional scanner is a closed machine where you lay in a large tube while the required images are taken. There are various closed MRI scanners, including an extremity MRI that, as the name states, focuses on your extremities, and a 3 Tesla MRI, the most powerful MRI machine available. The open MRI scanner is very often utilized for patients who suffer from claustrophobia as it does not require the patient to enter a small space.
When Is an MRI Needed
MRI scans are performed for a large variety of reasons, ranging from life-threatening emergencies to knee pain. Some examples of issues that may require the use of magnetic resonance imaging include the following:
- Tumors in the chest
- Blood vessel issues
- Multiple sclerosis
- Heart issues
- Torn meniscus
Magnetic resonance imaging is a powerful tool and a marvel of modern medicine. While needing an MRI scan is not something you should hope for, it’s good to remember that MRI scans can help doctors diagnose and develop specific treatment plans for a variety of medical issues.