How MRI Works
A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine is a sophisticated medical imaging and diagnostic device. They create a low-level magnetic field which causes a specific reaction inside the atoms of the body. The atoms inside each type of tissue in the body react in different ways. The computer hooked up to the scanner senses these different reactions and then turns what it senses into a visual representation of internal functioning of the patient’s body. In the past all MRI machines not only worked the same, but also looked the same. Today, though, there are three different types of MRI scanners available to patients.
Traditional Closed MRI
A closed MRI machine is a large tube that a patient lays in. This style of scanner almost always produces images that are of very high quality. Patient comfort in these machines is sometimes a problem. The small tube that a patient must lay in can cause a patient who is claustrophobic to panic. The MRI machine requires the patient to lie very still; someone who is moving around can make scanning almost impossible. The small opening size of some closed MRI machines means that overweight patients simply cannot be scanned.