Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses radiofrequency waves and a strong magnetic field rather than X-rays to provide remarkably clear and detailed pictures of internal organs and tissues. The technique has proven valuable for the diagnosis of a broad range of pathologic conditions, including cancer, heart, and vascular disease, stroke, joint and musculoskeletal disorders.
MRI requires specialized equipment and expertise and allows evaluation of some body structures that may not be as visible with other imaging methods. Because MRI can give such clear pictures of soft-tissue structures near and around bones, it is the most sensitive exam for spinal and joint problems. MRI is widely used to diagnose sports-related injuries, especially those affecting the knee, shoulder, hip, elbow, and wrist. The images reveal very small tears and injuries to ligaments and muscles.
Some MRI/MRA studies may require injection of a contrast dye. This type of study improves visualization in disease detection and characterization and increases differentiation between normal and abnormal anatomic structures.
How Should You Prepare for MRI/MRA?
There is no need to alter your diet or medication prior to an MRI examination. The only exception is an MRCP MRI/abdominal. For this specific test, you cannot eat or drink two hours before the exam. Remove any metal items before the test. Let us know in advance if you have any implanted devices, pacemakers or metal clips in your body.