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How Does An MRI Scanner Work?

How Does An MRI Scanner Work?

Disclosure – this is a collaborative post.

How Does An MRI Scanner Work?

MRI scanners are highly advanced machines that have a number of uses in the medical field. They are a relatively new technology, and they are improving all the time to provide even greater care and service for patients. 

Understanding the science behind medical procedures is an incredibly effective way of reducing associated stress and anxiety. If you have an MRI scan coming up and you’re feeling nervous, one of the best ways to make the process more comfortable is by learning how MRI scanners work. Let’s find out more. 

What Do MRI Scanners Do?

MRI scanners produce detailed images of the inside of the body. These images can be used by doctors and clinicians to diagnose a range of different diseases and conditions, and we see everything from cardiac MRI scans to traumatic brain injury MRI scans. 

How Are These Images Produced?

MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. By using powerful magnets and radio waves, MRI scanners can produce highly detailed, accurate images of any area of the body. Patients enter the MRI machine, which is shaped like a tube, and lie down on a flat surface facing upwards. A magnetic field is generated around the patient which causes the atoms in the body to face in the same direction. The machine then sends out radio waves which move the atoms. When the radio waves are stopped, the atoms return to their original positions and send out radio signals of their own. The MRI machine captures these signals and transmits them to specialist software, where they are then converted into an image of that part of the body. 

What Can An MRI Scan Diagnose?

MRI scanners are incredibly useful machines and have significantly simplified the process of diagnosing a range of different conditions. Heart disease and stroke can be detected by MRIs, and they can give an idea of the extent of the damage, traumatic brain injury can be detected, as can injuries to the spine or other parts of the body. MRIs can also be used to detect and aid in the diagnosis of degenerative conditions such as multiple sclerosis. 

What Are The Risks Of An MRI Scan?

MRI scans are painless and non-invasive medical procedures. Compared to some other procedures, they are relatively simple and straightforward. Unlike X-rays, MRI scans do not make use of radiation so there is no risk of radiation exposure for patients. 

Sometimes, patients may be injected with a dye known as a contrast agent before an MRI scan. This can light up specific areas on the body on the resulting image and can make analysis and diagnosis much easier. Usually, this dye is harmless, but it can cause an allergic reaction in rare cases. You will be closely monitored if you have to receive this dye to monitor for any adverse response. 

Some people can feel claustrophobic during an MRI, often requiring the use of sedatives in extreme cases. However, modern MRIs are much more open and spacious which is helping to minimise this risk. 


Use this guide to learn everything you need to know about MRI scans.

Disclosure – this is a collaborative post.