Seeing inside the body with magnetic resonance imaging

An MRI can provide invaluable information about the various structures within the body. An MRI may also be used to provide further details on something seen on an X-ray, ultrasound or computed tomography (CT) scans.

An MRI can be used to examine:

Learn more about preparing for an MRI.

Additional types of magnetic resonance imaging

Magnetic Resonance Angiography
Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) is a type of MRI that is used to look at blood vessels and the way blood is flowing through them. This exam allows physicians to see both the blood flow and the condition of the blood vessel walls.

Magnetic resonance angiography is used to examine blood vessels in key areas of the body, including the brain, kidneys, lungs and heart. MRA can:

  • Identify disease and aneurysms in the aorta or other major blood vessels
  • Detect atherosclerotic disease
  • Indicate disease in the kidney artery
  • Visualize blood flow to prepare for surgeries
  • Guide surgeons making repairs to diseased blood vessels
  • Detect injury to one of more arteries in trauma patients
  • Identify dissection in the aorta or its major branches

Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP)
Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) is a form of MRI that is used to evaluate conditions involving the bile ducts, gallbladder and pancreatic ducts. MRCP can be used to help diagnose and examine many conditions of the biliary system, including:

  • Determining if gallstones are lodged in any of the ducts surrounding the gall bladder
  • Identifying the presence of bile duct obstruction or injuries
  • Diagnosing primary sclerosing cholangitis, a swelling or damaging of the bile ducts
  • Diagnosing cancerous and non-cancerous tumors of the liver, gall bladder and pancreas