Your MRI Exam

Guiding Patients through an MRI Exam at Lehigh Magnetic Imaging Center

We are dedicated to providing you with the highest level of comfort throughout your MRI experience. Part of that is helping to educate you about how your MRI is performed and what to expect.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Techniques

What is MRI?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is an advanced imaging technique that uses a strong magnetic field, radio waves and computers to produce detailed images of the body without the use of ionizing radiation (x-rays).

Exact 3D Modeling Image by an MRI

Why have MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging is a non-invasive study (does not involve surgery) that provides an unparalleled view inside the body. MRI has the ability to produce extraordinarily clear and detailed high definition images from multiple planes.

The level of detail and ability to distinguish differences between similar tissues (for example, diseased and healthy) allows for early detection of an abnormality. Early detection can mean early treatment. And because MRI does not use ionizing radiation (x-rays), it is safe for adults and children.

Diagnosing an MRI

What can MRI Diagnose?

MRI is especially useful in neurological (brain and spine), musculoskeletal (muscles, cartilage, tendons, joints and other connective tissue), cardiovascular (heart and blood vessels) and body (chest, abdomen and pelvis) imaging.

MRI has proved valuable in diagnosing a broad range of conditions, including:

  • Cancer and abnormal growths (and their follow-up)
  • Heart and vascular disease
  • Stroke
  • Infections
  • Injuries
  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Degenerative diseases of the spine
  • Neurological conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (MS)

Types of MRI

  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA)
    • Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) is an MRI of the arteries, the blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart. The study is painless, does not involve the insertion of a catheter and has no risk of damaging an artery. An MRA is often performed to observe the movement of blood through the vessels and to detect:

      1. an aneurysm (bulge), clot, or stenosis (narrowing) in the blood vessels to the brain
      2. an aneurysm or dissection (tear) in the aorta, which carries blood to the heart and rest of the body, or
      3. stenosis of blood vessels to the lungs, kidneys, other vital organs or legs
  • Magnetic Resonance Venography (MRV)
    • Magnetic Resonance Venography (MRV) is an MRI of the veins, the blood vessels that carry deoxygenated blood toward the heart.
  • Breast MRI
    • Breast MRI is a safe and painless study of the breast that does not involve radiation (x-rays). It is not a replacement for mammography and ultrasound, nor meant for general breast screening. Breast MRI is used primarily to:

      1. further evaluate abnormalities already found through mammography and ultrasound
      2. pinpoint tumor locations
      3. determine the stage of newly diagnosed breast cancer
      4. identify early breast cancer not found by other means, especially in women with dense breast tissue or those at high risk for the disease
      5. determine whether an existing cancer has spread further in the breast or chest wall
      6. assess the integrity of breast implants

      Most breast MRI studies require an injection of contrast.

  • Cardiac MRI
    • Cardiac MRI is used to evaluate the structure and function of the heart, valves, major blood vessels and surrounding structures, such as the pericardium (sac surrounding heart). It allows us to:

      1. diagnose and manage a variety of cardiovascular diseases
      2. examine the size and thickness of the chambers of the heart
      3. determine the extent of damage caused by a heart attack or progressive heart disease
      4. detect the buildup of plaque (semi-hard accumulation) and blockages in the blood vessels

      Most cardiac MRI studies require an injection of contrast.

  • Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)
    • Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) is an advanced technique that measures changes in blood flow to the brain. An fMRI allows us to identify areas of the brain that are active during specific tasks such as speech, reading, or movement. It is often used to guide surgery, radiation therapy, and other treatments of the brain.
  • MRI Under Anesthesia
    • MRI under Anesthesia is a special service for infants, children and adults who require sedation. Sedation is generally required for those who are unable to lie still during their study or who are severely claustrophobic. Pediatric anesthesia is provided by specialty-trained pediatric anesthesiologists.