MRI, Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Pensacola Radiology Consultants offers the most sophisticated Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) services in our community. PRC radiologists use the latest MRI scanners from Siemens.
The first nuclear magnetic experiments were reported by Felix Bloch at Stanford and Edward Purcell at Harvard in 1946 (Nobel prize 1952). It wasn't until 1974, that the first image of a live animal was produced by Paul Lauterbur (Nobel prize 2003). Raymond Damadian published the first human MRI images in 1977. The first commericially available MRI scanners appeared in the early 1980's. Over 60 million MRI exams are now performed a year.
MRI is a diagnostic radiological procedure. MRI utilizes radio waves to produce an image of the body. The body is made up of mostly water. This molecule contains protons. When the patient is placed into the magnet, the protons will align with the magnetic field. A radio frequency wave pulse (RF) is sent into the patient. At some point, the RF pulse matches the frequency of the protons. It is then that the protons can pick up the energy from the radio wave-- a phenomenon called resonance. When the short RF pulse is turned off, the protons give up the energy they have absorbed. A computer "listens" to the different energy frequencies that result from this process and then produces an image of the body part which the radiologist can interpret.
MRI technology can be used to image any body part but is particularly useful in applications related to the brain, spine and musculoskeletal system. For example, it is the leading technology used to diagnose strokes, disc herniations, and tears in the shoulder or knee.
MRA provides images of the blood vessels. Most exams are performed without any need for injected contrast material. Occasionally, contrast material (gadolinium chelate) will be introduced through an arm vein to provide additional detail and information.