Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging technology that doctors often rely on for diagnostic procedures and treatment plans. It’s also used for monitoring patients to determine whether therapy has improved or worsened their condition.
While MRI is considered the most advanced imaging solution, medical equipment manufacturers have continued using technology to produce MRI systems that improve patient screening, monitoring, and diagnostic services. Below, you’ll discover more about this essential medical equipment and learn the latest advances in MRI technology.
What Do You Need An MRI Scan For?
Almost all hospitals have this machine. But perhaps not many people understand what it does and why it’s significant to patients and medical specialists. Magnetic resonance imaging uses radio waves and magnetic fields to create detailed images of the human body. And it’s used to aid in the proper diagnosis and treatment.
Several reasons prompt your physician to send you to an MRI Center in Midland TX if you’re in this part of Texas and similar medical facilities near you. Primary reasons for internal patient scanning include determining the probable causes of your health concern or monitoring your specific condition.
For example, suppose you’ve been complaining about severe symptoms and persistent pain in the abdomen, pelvis, chest, or head. In that case, an MRI can help your doctor spot anything unusual in your body. MRI can detect tumors and diseases affecting internal organs, joints, the spine, and other sensitive parts of the human body.
The Latest In MRI Technology
Manufacturers have quickly embedded technology in their latest machines to improve medical practices and patient outcomes. Below are some of these notable advances in the MRI sector:
- Multi-Contrast Imaging
Even if MRI scanning is considered one of the most advanced medical imaging methods, there are areas for improvement. For instance, machines of the past weren’t able to provide the most detailed images at all times. As a result, a rescan will be ordered if the doctor can’t interpret the images well.
With multi-contrasting imaging software, MRI machines can take eight contrast settings in one examination. There’s no need to order a rescan because medical practitioners can look at several results in different contrast settings. By adjusting contrast settings, doctors can better view what’s inside your body to come up with better diagnoses and treatment plans.
- Pulmonary MRI
Getting a view of the lungs and what’s inside them traditionally requires other medical imaging types, such as computed tomography (CT) scan. Pulmonary MRI was highly challenging in the past because the machine requires low levels of hydrogen atoms while our lungs are filled with oxygen air. As a result, radio wave signals couldn’t stay stable enough to get an accurate image. A manufacturer then created a machine that facilitates lung tissue viewing through Ultrashort Echo Time (UTE) technology that stabilizes the signals.
- Cost-Effective And Simple Cardiac MRI
Because of its complex nature and the hefty costs involved, only a small number of cardiac MRIs are performed even in advanced countries like the United States. Most medical practitioners still rely on CT scans to take images of the heart. Thus, an electronics manufacturing giant introduced a new technology to make cardiac MRI procedures less costly and more straightforward.
The software, which works with specific machines, automates images taken from a three-dimensional chest scan. It enables devices to capture a complete pattern of one cardiac movement, including blood flow conditions. This technology also reduces the testing time from over an hour to only 10 minutes.
- Three-Dimensional MRI Scanning
The 3-D MRI scanning software allows MRI machines to upgrade from a traditional two-dimensional system, facilitating a more transparent and comprehensive patient screening procedure.
Conventional devices perform scans in sections or slices and from top to bottom. This computing technology puts together these captured images to create a three-dimensional representation that’s more useful in the diagnosis, monitoring, and pre-surgical procedures, complementary to other laboratory test results.
- Open MRI Machine
Some patients aren’t comfortable lying down and getting the feeling of going through a tunnel, which can be challenging for those with claustrophobia. With technology, manufacturers have developed an open MRI, making the procedure less terrifying for persons with anxiety. This advanced device eliminates the enclosures in the front and back sections, helping ease fear and anxiety in most people.
An open MRI is also more inclusive, allowing obese people to go through the exam without the fear of getting stuck inside. And because it can be done while the patient is either standing or sitting, it’s more comfortable than the traditional method.
- Weight-Bearing MRI Methods
Like open MRI tools, some machines allow patients to perform weight-bearing positions such as sitting down while being scanned. These machines suit patients with specific conditions that make laying down uncomfortable, such as those with compression and disc herniations. Because the patient doesn’t have to lay flat on their stomach or back, this procedure is ideal for patients with spinal and sports injuries, or musculoskeletal disorders that make every movement unbearable.
- Surgical MRI Machines
With technology, MRI procedures are no longer used for diagnostic purposes only. With intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (iMRI), surgeons can use the machine inside the operating room to make the procedure more accurate. Surgical doctors can use these advanced systems to view high-resolution images of the surgery site, helping them target the problematic area with better precision.
- Patient-Friendly MRI Devices
Besides an open MRI, technology has enabled other integrations to make the procedure less likely to elicit fear and anxiety from patients. For instance, some MRI devices allow patients to relax while enjoying an integrated entertainment system that provides the best audiovisual experience. Instead of being flooded with thoughts about what could go wrong, individuals undergoing the exam can sit back and relax.
Silent MRI scanning is another patient-friendly technology embedded in some machines. It cancels some noises that can elicit annoyance and irritation to some people going through the procedure. Patients will have to wear noise-canceling ear devices to make them feel more comfortable.
An MRI scan is one of the most trusted methods in medical diagnostics, particularly those involving soft tissue injuries and problems with internal organ functions. The machine can generate clear images of injuries and biological abnormalities and deficiencies, leading to better patient outcomes.
As technology continues to evolve, it remains to be seen which advancements in the MRI system will be introduced in the coming days. Nevertheless, it can’t be denied that these state-of-the-art tools are already helping make the medical practitioners’ lives easier and the patients’ better.