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What is MRI?

MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. The MRI machine sends pulses of radio waves into the human body to stimulate the magnetic field of hydrogen atoms in the body. The resonance of the hydrogen atoms sends out signals, and then these signals are collected to produce an image of the body. Because the body's organs and tissue compositions are different, the signals they emit are therefore different. Based on the signals, possible diseases and problems can be detected by exploring the structure of the body's internal organs and tissues. With its non-invasive approach, it reduces a patient's discomfort and provides a strong diagnostic capability to doctors. The MRI uses no X-rays and is entirely radiation free.

What are the advantages of MRI? What is MRI used for?

MRI has the advantages of high contrast, high spatial resolution, etc. It also provides doctors with a very high resolution image of the substance of the body organs, soft tissue, musculoskeletal system, and central nervous system. MRI machines can detect tumors effectively with diffusion-weighted imaging. At present, MRI is widely used in general physical check ups, systemic cancer screenings, tumor stage detection, myocardial functional activity examinations, brain and neurovascular examinations, systemic vascular examinations, and spine examinations.

What is the 3T MRI?

At medical centers in Taiwan, they generally perform MRIs using a machine capable of only 1.5 T for check ups. "T" is the abbreviation for Tesla. Tesla is the metric for measuring the intensity of magnetic fields. 3.0 T by definition is twice the intensity of 1.5 T. The resulting signal strength and image resolution is better than that of the 1.5 T machines. 3.0 T MRIs shorten the time it takes for the traditional MRI procedure, which was often criticized because it is time consuming. The panoramic view of the 3.0 T MRI also fixes the problem of a patient repeatedly getting on and off the examination table to obtain images from different parts of the body. 3.0 T machines have greatly improved patient satisfaction.

What difference does Magnetic resonance imaging have from positron emission tomography?

MRI has the advantage of not using radiation, while the disadvantage is it takes longer than positron emission tomography for a patient. MRI produces great images and improves the doctors ability to detect problems in the actual organs. Positron emission tomography is not as effective in detecting problems in organs that have rapid glucose metabolism such as brain, liver or lungs. MRI can also be used to detect problems in the spine, cerebrovascular system, or other parts of the vascular system. When it is applied to a physical check up, it has the advantages of having a broad range of uses and it does not use radiation. Positron emission tomography is often used in the diagnosis of tumor stages and metastasis detection.

Approximately how long does Magnetic Resonance Imaging take?

The most common uses are:

. Cerebral vascular examination is about 40 minutes 

. Anti-cancer screening is about 60 minutes 

. Elite checking is about 90 minutes 

. One single part of the spine is about 30 minutes 

. MRI of the abdomen is about 60 minutes