What is MRI?

MRI at PRAMagnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive medical test that physicians use to diagnose and treat medical conditions. The MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and all other internal body structures. Detailed MR images allow physicians to see various parts of the body and determine the presence of certain diseases.

An MRI is a valuable tool for diagnosing a broad range of conditions including:

  • cancer
  • heart and vascular disease
  • stroke and other anomalies of the brain
  • joint and musculoskeletal disorders


What is an MRI used to assess?

MR imaging of the body is performed to evaluate:

  • Musculoskeletal System
    • knee
    • ankle
    • shoulder
    • spine – disc herniation, spinal stenosis, spinal tumors
    • soft tissue such as ligaments and tendons
  • Organs of the chest and abdomen—including:
    • heart
      • aorta
      • coronary artery disease
      • arteries
      • blood vessels
      • damage caused by heart attack or heart disease
    • liver
    • biliary tract
    • kidneys
    • spleen
    • bowel
    • pancreas
    • adrenal glands
  • Pelvic organs including the bladder and the reproductive organs such as the uterus and ovaries in females and the prostate gland in males.
  • Lymph nodes

Physicians use an MRI procedure to help examine and diagnose or monitor treatment for conditions such as:

  • tumors of the chest, abdomen or pelvis
  • diseases of the liver, such as cirrhosis, and abnormalities of the bile ducts and pancreas
  • inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
  • heart problems, such as congenital heart disease
  • malformations of the blood vessels and inflammation of the vessels (vasculitis)
  • tumors of the brain, developmental anomalies of the brain, vascular anomalies of the head (aneurysm)
  • disorders of the eye
  • disease in the pituitary gland
  • certain chronic disorders of the nervous system and causes of a headache

An MRI of the brain and other cranial structures is clearer and more detailed than other imaging methods.

Early Detection of Breast Cancer

An MRI is a valuable tool in the early detection of breast cancer. In the early diagnosis of breast cancer, MRI is an alternative to traditional x-ray mammography. At Peninsula Radiology Associates, an MRI of the breast helps us to gather information about many different breast conditions that are not obtainable through a mammography or ultrasound. Breast MRIs are a valuable supplemental tool, but are not a replacement for a yearly mammography or ultrasound.

At Peninsula Radiology, we deliver the most comprehensive range of medical diagnostic imaging and interventional radiological procedures available on the Virginia Peninsula. Peninsula Radiological Associates is affiliated with the highly esteemed Riverside Health System. This partnership allows for the greatest level of expertise, technology and service to our patients. Call today to schedule an appointment (757) 989-8830.

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