What is an MRI?
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging technique that uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to produce detailed images of the inside of the body. Here’s how it works:
The patient lies on a table that slides into a large, tube-shaped machine called an MRI scanner.
The MRI machine creates a strong magnetic field around the patient. This magnetic field causes the hydrogen atoms in the patient’s body to align in a certain way.
The MRI machine sends radio waves into the body. These radio waves cause the hydrogen atoms to spin out of alignment with the magnetic field.
As the hydrogen atoms return to their normal alignment, they give off a small amount of energy in the form of radio waves. These radio waves are detected by the MRI machine and used to create detailed images of the inside of the body.
The MRI machine sends the images to a computer, which processes the data and displays the images on a monitor for the doctor to review.
MRI scans are painless and do not involve radiation, making them a safe and effective way to examine the body’s internal structures. They are often used to diagnose medical conditions, monitor treatment progress, and guide medical procedures.
MRI scans of the spine are usually of the cervical, thoracic or lumbar spine.