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MR Imaging

Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging sets up a strong magnetic field around, and pulses radio waves through, the body and then detects and reads the shift in the orientation of tissue molecules when the field is alternately applied and released. Detection coils in the MRI machine read the energy produced by water molecules as they mis-align and realign with each radiofrequency pulse. A computer interprets and reconstructs this information through one axis then another of the body to first make highly precise two-dimensional images of cross sections of the body. The computer can also arrange these images to make detailed three-dimensional images of body areas.

Areas with a very low amount of free water molecules generate little image data, remaining dark on the images. Differences in soft tissue, which contains abundant water, reveal themselves in great detail. In this way, Radiologists can generate precise images of internal structures. By changing contrast settings, they can highlight different types of tissue.

MR scans require patients to remain still in the partly enclosed structure of the MR scanner. MR imaging does not involve the exposure to X-rays entailed with standard X-ray studies or CT scans. Thus it serves the needs especially well of patients who require several successive studies over a short period.

Doctors use MR imaging for all types of soft tissue, including that of the brain, chest, thorax, abdomen, pelvis, joints and muscles. It is a preferred mode of imaging for detecting, identifying and evaluating tumors, and thus has, for example, also found increased use in breast imaging. Lourdes MR imaging units use computer-aided detection, a feature in which the system is programmed to analyze the images and highlight, for the radiologists attention, areas that may be abnormal.

Magnetic resonance can also generate detailed images of blood vessels. For evaluating risk or acute events in stroke, heart disease, abdominal aortic conditions, as well as vessels of the kidneys and legs, MR imaging can provide images with levels of precision not available from other imaging modalities. In some cases, these studies use a contrast medium, as in X-ray angiography. This approach can even indicate blood-flow velocity in vessels.

MR uses a strong magnet and radio waves to take images that show subtle differences in soft tissue. It can be repeated often, making this imaging modality well suited to cancer evaluation, blood vessel conditions and soft-tissue injury of the joints or skeleton.

Lourdes Health System provides full-service MR imaging at both of its hospital locations and offers weekend and evening appointments.

The American College of Radiology has accredited the MR imaging services at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden.

More information on MR imaging and MR angiography.

To arrange for radiology services at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center or Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County:

1-888-LOURDES

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