MRI is a noninvasive way for your doctor to examine your organs, tissues and skeletal system. It produces high-resolution images that help diagnose a variety of problems.

MRI of the brain and spinal cord

MRI is the most frequently used imaging test of the brain and spinal cord. It's often performed to help diagnose:

  • Aneurysms
  • Disorders of the eye and inner ear
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Stroke
  • Tumors

Functional MRI of the brain (fMRI) can be used to identify important language and movement control areas in the brain in people who are being considered for brain surgery.

MRI of the heart and blood vessels

An MRI that focuses on the heart or blood vessels can assess:

  • The size and function of the heart's chambers
  • Thickness and movement of the walls of the heart
  • The extent of damage caused by heart attack or heart disease
  • Structural problems in the aorta, such as aneurysms or dissections
  • Inflammation or blockages in the blood vessels

MRI of other internal organs

An MRI may be used to check for tumors or other abnormalities of many organs in the body, including the:

  • Liver
  • Kidneys
  • Spleen
  • Pancreas
  • Uterus
  • Ovaries
  • Prostate
  • Testicles

MRI of bones and joints

MRI may be used to help evaluate:

  • Joint disorders, such as arthritis
  • Joint abnormalities caused by traumatic or repetitive injuries
  • Disk abnormalities in the spine
  • Bone infections
  • Tumors of the bones and soft tissues

MRI of the breasts

MRI may be used in addition to mammography to detect breast cancer, particularly in women who have dense breast tissue or who may be at high risk of the disease.

Aug. 17, 2013