Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI), is primarily a medical imaging technique most commonly used in Radiology to visualize the structure and function of the body. It provides detailed images of the body in any plane. MRI provides much greater contrast between the different soft tissues of the body than does computed tomography (CT), making it especially useful in neurological (brain), musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, and oncological (cancer) imaging. Unlike CT, it uses no ionizing radiation, but uses a powerful magnetic field to align the nuclear magnetization of (usually) hydrogen atoms in water in the body.
Radiofrequency fields are used to systematically alter the alignment of this magnetization, causing the hydrogen nuclei to produce a rotating magnetic field detectable by the scanner. This signal can be manipulated by additional magnetic fields to build up enough information to reconstruct an image of the body.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. MR imaging uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and virtually all other internal body structures. The images can then be examined on a computer monitor, printed or copied to CD. MRI does not use ionizing radiation (x-rays).