What is an MRI?
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging technique used to produce high quality images of the inside of the human body. A scanner emits a strong magnetic field inside the brain (or elsewhere in the body) and produce signals that are analyzed by a computer to produce detailed images.
Purpose of an MRI
Different organs can be studied with MRI imaging. MRI neurography is a technique that specifically images the peripheral nerves. This technique can be a complement to electrodiagnostic testing. MRI neurography can detect abnormalities earlier than electrodiagnostic testing after nerve injury and can also help your doctor differentiate between different types of peripheral neuropathy.
Other MRI techniques can be performed to exclude other disorders that produce similar symptoms.
How is an MRI Done?
Typically, the patient is placed into a tube-like cylinder (scanner) while lying on a mobile table. The patient is asked to lie very still. Usually, the fit is quite tight and sometimes claustrophobia (fear of enclosed/small places) can be a problem.
Due to the use of a magnetic field, there are patients that cannot undergo MRI. Patients with a pacemaker (or any metal implant) are not able to undergo an MRI. Some modern orthopedic implants are inert and do not react with the magnetic field of the MRI.
Does an MRI Hurt?
For most people, the procedure is painless. However, sometimes claustrophobia can be a problem, and the patient is given a medication for relaxation.