resonance imaging utilizes sophisticated technology
to image the inside of the brain and spine. It has the
ability to show images in three planes; 1)axial (the
body is shown in slices across, like slicing a salami), 2)
coronal (the slices are taken from side to side, like a crown
extending over the head, from one ear to another), and 3)
sagittal (from front to back, like the arrow shot by Sagittarius
(therefore the name sagittal)).
an MRI does not show bone anatomy as well as Computed Tomography
(CT), it is excellent at showing soft tissue. Brain,
spinal cord, and nerves are seen particularly well.
A contrast agent known as gadolinium may be injected to show
tumors, which often appear bright white on MRI.
are no known adverse effects to a fetus from MRI.
(conditions for which MRI cannot be used) are:
pacemaker, implanted neurostimulators, cochlear implants
implants or foreign bodies with large components of iron
fragments within the eye
coils or filters placed within the past 6 weeks
patients, although some may tolerate the procedure with
ill patients where monitoring during the procedure may be
patients: size limitations may not permit the patient
to fit within the closed bore MRI scanners; an open
MRI may be needed, although, depending upon the open scanner,
image quality may suffer
implants within the area of interest may impair good image
your neurosurgeon will want to repeat your MRI scan, because
the image is of poor quality. This may be the result
of motion artifact (you moved during the scan), or because
of metal in the region of the scan. Seen here is a picture
of a poor quality scan. It is very obvious the the detail
is very poor, and the image is a blurred. Although images
may be sufficient for diagnostic purposes, your neurosurgeon
wants the best amount of detail possible to do the best surgery
possible. You wouldn't drive a car if you could barely
see through the windshield, and you wouldn't want your surgeon
operating if he/she could barely see your anatomy.