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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

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There are 3 high-field MRI units available at UT Medical Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. Also called magnetic resonance imaging or nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) imaging, an MRI is a non-invasive procedure that uses powerful magnets and radio waves to construct pictures of the body.

The patient will be asked to lie on a table that slides into a large tunnel-like tube within the scanner. Small devices may be placed around the head, arm, leg or adjacent to other areas to be studied. These send and receive the radio wave pulses, and are designed to improve the quality of the images. If contrast is to be administered, an IV will be placed, usually in a small vein of the hand or forearm. A technologist will operate the machine and observe you during the entire study from an adjacent room while taking several sets of images.

An MRI can provide additional imaging information for the clinician based on its superior tissue contrast resolution. Combined with other imaging methods, a more definitive diagnosis can be given in the work up of a patient’s disease.