An MRI scan is a radiology technique that uses magnetism, radio waves, and a computer to produce images of body structures. The image and resolution produced by MRI are quite detailed and can detect tiny changes of structures within the body. For some procedures, contrast agents (dye) are used to increase the accuracy of the images.
An MRI scan can be used as an extremely accurate method of disease detection throughout the body. Often, surgery can be deferred or more accurately directed after knowing the results of an MRI scan. Neurosurgeons may opt for an MRI to evaluate the integrity of a patient’s spinal cord after a trauma.
It is also used when considering problems associated with the vertebrae or intervertebral discs of the spine.
The MRI scanning process is painless and does not involve x-ray radiation. The whole procedure will take 15-40 minutes. There are no after-effects from the scan and can return to your normal activities as soon as it is over. The pictures from the scan are studied by a radiologist who will send a report to the doctor who requested the scan. Patients with heart pacemakers or any type of metal implants cannot be scanned with MRI