Technology | 7-14 yrs | Reading Pod, Learning Pod
MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. This technique uses a very powerful magnet and radio waves to create pictures of tissues and organs inside the body, which can then be viewed on a computer. An MRI scan provides much better and clearer images of body parts that cannot be seen as well with X-ray, CT scan, or ultrasound.
During the MRI procedure, the patient has to lie inside a big and hollow cylindrical machine that has a strong magnet fit inside it. It almost feels like lying inside a large hose pipe! When the scanning machine is turned on, it sends extremely strong radio waves through the body and a strong magnetic field is created. This strong magnetic field affects the protons in the human body, that are mostly in hydrogen atoms, and aligns them in a particular fashion.
Hydrogen, along with oxygen and carbon, makes up 99 per cent of the human body, and thus, almost all the protons found inside the body are affected by the magnetic field generated by the machine. When the machine is turned off, the magnetic field also disappears and the protons start losing their alignment. They start going back to their original positions where they were before the magnetic field was generated. As the protons begin to fall back in place, they send out radio wave signals of their own. The MRI scanner picks up these signals and sends it to the attached computer which turns these signals into pictures.
Protons located in different parts of the body emit different types of signals. For example, a proton found in a muscle will produce an entirely different type of radio wave signal as compared to a proton found in a bone.
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