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About Magnetic Resonance Imaging


For those trying to look inside the human body without surgery, magnetic resonance imaging is an indispensable tool.


Facts for Prelims

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI):

  • MRI is a technique employed to capture images of soft tissues within the body, defined as tissues that have not undergone calcification.
    • Calcification is a process in which calcium builds up in body tissue, causing the tissue to harden. This can be a normal or abnormal process.
  • It serves as a non-invasive diagnostic tool widely applied in imaging various body structures, including the brain, cardiovascular system, spinal cord, joints, muscles, liver, and arteries.
  • The significance of MRI extends to the diagnosis and management of specific cancers such as prostate and rectal cancer, as well as neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, epilepsy, and stroke.
  • However, the utilization of strong magnetic fields in MRI poses limitations, as individuals with embedded metallic objects or implants (e.g., shrapnel, pacemakers) may be ineligible for MRI scans.

Principles of MRI:

  • MRI functions by harnessing the body’s natural magnetic properties, primarily those of hydrogen atoms, to produce detailed images of various body parts.
  • The procedure involves the emission of a radiofrequency pulse to excite excess hydrogen atoms, which emit energy when the pulse ceases.
  • A superconducting magnet within the MRI machine creates a stable magnetic field, aligning the spins of hydrogen atoms.
  • Subsequently, the emitted energy is detected and converted into signals by a receiver, which are then processed by a computer to generate detailed 2D or 3D images of the scanned body part.

-Source: The Hindu

May 2024