Magnetic resonance imaging
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging technique used in radiology to form pictures of the anatomy and the physiological processes of the body. MRI scanners use strong magnetic fields, magnetic field gradients, and radio waves to generate images of the organs in the body. MRI does not involve X-rays or the use of ionizing radiation, which distinguishes it from CT and PET scans. MRI is a medical application of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). NMR can also be used for imaging in other NMR applications, such as NMR spectroscopy.
While the hazards of ionizing radiation are now well-controlled in most medical contexts, an MRI may still be seen as a better choice than a CT scan. MRI is widely used in hospitals and clinics for medical diagnosis and staging and follow-up of disease without exposing the body to radiation. An MRI may yield different information compared with CT. Risks and discomfort may be associated with MRI scans. Compared with CT scans, MRI scans typically take longer and are louder, and they usually need the subject to enter a narrow, confining tube. In addition, people with some medical implants or other non-removable metal inside the body may be unable to undergo an MRI examination safely.