Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a form of noninvasive test employed by physicians in health care facilities to diagnose as well as treat various medical conditions (Anderson 523). The MRI system employs powerful magnetic fields, pulses from radio frequencies as well as a computer to offer detailed photographs of organs, bones, soft tissues as well as all other internal body structures. The MRI scanners use the field gradients from very strong magnetic fields as well as radio waves in generating the images of various internal parts of the body. This essay offers a discussion of the advantages of using MRI services in making diagnosis compared to other modalities such as computed tomography, ultrasound, and nuclear medicine.
MRI in Clinical Practice
It can be employed to aid in diagnosing as well as monitoring the treatment of various health conditions affecting the chest, pelvis as well as the abdominal section. Nevertheless, expectant women cannot have an MRI because it may pose a significant level of danger to the unborn child. In the head, MRI scanners can take pictures of brain tumors, nerve injuries, aneurysm and bleeding of the brain. It can also be employed to examine for any damage to the head, which might have been caused by a stroke.
In the chest region, MRI scanning can be employed to check for any issues that could be affecting the heart, coronary blood vessels as well as the blood vessel valves. It is also capable of illustrating whether the heart or lungs in a persons body have been damaged. The use of MRI scanners to check any issues with the blood vessels as well as check the flow of blood inside the vessels is referred to as Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA).
Figure 1: This image is showing an MRI machine at work.
MRI can detect problems within the blood veins and arteries, such as blocked blood vessels, torn blood vessels as well as an aneurysm (Bhattacharyya, Siddhartha and Hrishikesh 188). MRI can also be employed to check for problems with various organs in the belly. This is in organs such as the kidneys, gall bladder, liver, pancreas and urinary bladder. Also, MRI can check for any problems with joints and bones such as arthritis, bone tumors, bone marrow problems, bone infections, torn ligaments, and tendons, as well as issues with the temporal mandibular joints. Ultimately, MRI can be employed to check for any problems with the discs and nerves situated on the spine for any conditions that might affect them such as disc bulges, spinal stenosis, as well as spinal tumors.
Advantages of Using MRI Over Computed Tomography
Computed Tomography (CT) is a form of imaging procedure that works through the use of special x-ray equipment in creating detailed photographs as well scans of various parts of a persons body. It is also referred to a Computerized Tomography as well as Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT). Unlike the CT scans that employ x-rays, MRI scans only use powerful magnetic fields as well as radio frequency pulses in developing detailed photographs of soft tissues, organs, bones as well as other internal body structures. Also, unlike the CT scanning, MRI is capable of clearly illustrating the difference between the normal as well as abnormal tissues in a persons body. MRI is also advantageous over CT scan in that it does not expose a persons body to any form of radiation.
Also, the MRI methodology is best suited for a cross-examination of soft body tissues situated in ligaments. It can also be employed for checking any injuries on the soft tissues resulting from tendon injuries, brain tumors as well as spinal cord injuries. Such are examinations that cannot be executed through the use of a CT scan since the CT scan is only best suited in checking various bone injuries, cancer development as well as the development of chest and lung problems.
Another primary advantage of an MRI is that it does not expose a persons body to other conditions such as cancer, which might be brought by repeated exposure to radiation. The MRI machines are also capable of producing images of a persons body in any plane. This is because they are capable of performing a 3D isotropic imaging that allows an MRI specialist to check a persons body on three dimensions (Acton 49). The 3D isotropic imaging also facilitates multi-planer Reformation (Acton 64). Contrary, a CT scan is not capable of performing 3D imaging without changing the patients position.
Figure 2: This image is showing a CT scanning equipment.
Another great advantage of employing MRI in the healthcare practice over CT scan is its ability to change the contrasts of various images detected in a persons body. This is because of small changes in radio waves, as well as magnetic fields, are capable of creating a complete change in the contrast of the image. Also, different contrast settings through the MRI scans can highlight the different forms of body tissues in a persons body. Ultimately, MRI scans are extremely accurate in disease detection on any part of a persons body in comparison to the CT scanning. In most cases, MRI is employed after the CT scan test has failed to yield sufficient information that could be employed for confirming a patients diagnosis.
Advantages of Using MRI over Ultrasound
Ultrasound is a form of imaging that employs high-frequency sound waves in checking at a persons body organs and structures inside the body. In most cases, healthcare professionals employ ultrasound to view a persons liver, heart, blood vessels, kidneys as well as other organs. In most cases, ultrasound in used to check the position of a fetus during pregnancy. Unlike x-rays, ultrasound is safe because it does not expose a person to any form of radiation. During an ultrasound test, a person is asked to lie on an operation table.
A special technician or the doctor moves a device known as a transducer over the part of the body being investigated. The transducer emits sound waves to the affected region, which then bounces off back from the various tissues within the affected body parts. The transducer is then connected to an ultrasound equipment that develops images of the sound waves (Gibbs, Cole & Sassano 29). Despite the effectiveness of the ultrasound in checking various parts of the body, MRI is more superior to ultrasound testing based on the effectiveness of its usage. This is because unlike ultrasound, MRI is capable of creating a three-dimensional view of all the affected parts of the body.
Figure 3: Images of an ultrasound scanning machine.
This is a contrast to the ultrasound system, which only creates a real-time moving image of the body region being examined. The most primary usage of ultrasound is to check the status of a fetus inside a pregnant womans uterus. However, ultrasound scanning is ineffective in areas where there is air or bones inside the body. This is because the sound waves are easily altered by the existence of air cavities within the body. For this reason, it is not capable of examining body organs such as the lungs since the air inside them immensely interferes with the transducers sound waves. Nevertheless, this is not a problem that can be encountered when using the MRI system for organs or tissue imaging.
Advantages of using MRI over Nuclear Medicine
Nuclear medicine is a branch in the health care sector that deals with medical imaging through the use of small volumes of radioactive materials. This is so as to diagnose as well as determine the severity of underlying medical conditions. Nuclear medicine is employed in the treatment of cancers, gastrointestinal conditions, endocrine conditions, heart diseases, neurological disorders as well as other abnormalities within a persons body. Nuclear medicine employs the endo-radiology methodology, which is a record of all radiation that is emitting within a persons body. This is instead of basing its findings on the radiation generated by external sources such as the X-rays.
In its usage, nuclear medicine differs from radiology in that the nuclear medicine scans emphasis is not primarily on the imaging autonomy but the functioning and severity of conditions in the affected regions. This is also referred to as physiological imaging modality. The primary advantage of using MRI over nuclear medicines is that MRI is safer on patients as it does not expose them to any minimal health risks in comparison to nuclear medicine. On the hand, the associated risks of using nuclear medicine are that it exposes patients to radiations that might eventually cause cancer. Patients who have been exposed too much to nuclear medicine treatment can attain various health issues and complications, with the highest risks affecting the elderly, young and expectant patients.
In some cases, the use of nuclear medicine can make underlying conditions to become worse. This is one of the fundamental reasons why the MRI scans among other treatments are recommended over nuclear medicine in medical imaging. MRI is also advantageous over nuclear medicine in that the costs of offering nuclear medicine is far more costly in comparison to the cost of having MRI scanning. For this reason, nuclear medicine is quite expensive to the majority of patients, especially those without insurance covers, as compared to the cost of having an MRI scan. On the other hand, in nuclear medicine, the cost of purchasing, maintaining, installing as well as operating some of the equipment used in its administration can be extremely expensive.
In conclusion, the MRI is a form of noninvasive test that is normally employed by physicians in health care facilities so as to diagnose as well as treat various medical conditions. The MRI system employs powerful magnetic fields, pulses from radio frequencies as well as a computer to offer detailed photographs of organs, bones, soft tissues as well as all other internal body structures. In comparison to other forms of imaging such as the computed tomography, ultrasound, and nuclear medicine, MRI poses superior advantages. This is because it does not expose patients to harmful x-rays and radiation that could, later on, affect the health of patients. MRI also supports 3D isotropic imaging, and it is considered to be the most precise method of checking any issues affecting soft body tissues, blood vessels as well as bones in the body.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Acton, Ashton Q. Issues in Medical Lasers, Imaging, and Devices Research and Application: 2012 Edition. Atlanta: ScholarlyEditions, 2013.
Anderson, Kelley M. The Advanced Practice Nurse Cardiovascular Clinician. New York: Springer Publishing Company, 2015.
Bhattacharyya, et al. Intelligent Analysis of Multimedia Information. IGI Global, 2016.
Bright, Anne. Planning and Positioning in MRI. Chatswood: Elsevier Australia, 2011.
Gibbs, Vivien, David Cole and Antonio Sassano. Ultrasound Physics and Technology: How, Why and When. Amsterdam: Elsevier Health Sciences, 2011.
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