Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging study, in which organs and tissues in the body are made visible by means of a large, strong magnet and radio waves. With this technique, cross-sections of the body or of certain organs can easily be made, as if slices have been cut.
With an MRI scan, specific parts of the body can be investigated. Almost all body parts, organs and blood vessels are suitable. An MRI scan provides an accurate image of the brains, spinal cord, nerves, muscles, tendons, ligaments, heart and abdominal organs.
Use is made of an MRI scanner, which operates with a strong magnetic field and radio waves. With this scanner, signals are induced in the body, which are captured by an antenna and are converted into images by a computer. The images are displayed on a monitor. MRI can be used for similar purposes as X-ray imaging, but has the advantage that the radio waves that are used for MRI are not harmful to the human body.
No metal objects must be taken into the examination room. The patient is lying on an examination table. The table slides, while taking pictures, in a kind of tunnel that is approximately 2 meters long and 60 centimeters wide. The body part to be investigated is thus placed in the middle of the magnetic field. The tunnel is open at both sides and remains open during the examination. Generating the radio waves creates a loud rattling sound. If desired, the patient can wear headphones during the examination, so that the sounds are muted.
The duration of the examination is variable. Some studies are already finished after fifteen minutes, while other studies may take an hour or longer.