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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

What To Think About

  • Sometimes your MRI test results may be different from the results of CT, ultrasound, or X-ray tests, because the MRI scan shows tissue differently.
  • MRI is a safe test for looking at structures and organs inside the body. It costs more than other methods and may not be available in your area.
  • Open MRI machines are now made so that the magnet does not completely surround you. But these machines may not be available in all medical centers. Open MRI is useful for people who are claustrophobic or obese.
  • Magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA) is a special MRI method that studies blood vessels and blood flow. To learn more, see the topic Magnetic Resonance Angiogram (MRA).
  • MRI spectroscopy is a special MRI method that identifies certain medical problems by looking for specific chemicals in body tissues.
  • Contrast material that contains gadolinium may cause a serious skin problem (called nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy) in people with kidney failure. Before having an MRI scan, tell your doctor if you have serious kidney disease or if you have had a kidney transplant.

MRI can be used to check different parts of the body, such as the head, belly, breast, spine, shoulder, and knee.

Other Works Consulted

  • Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2013). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 6th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.

  • Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerHoward Schaff, MD - Diagnostic Radiology

Current as ofSeptember 9, 2014

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 09, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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